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Raptors fans descend on Chicago to cheer on their All-Stars

NBA All-Star Game in Chicago. CITYNEWS/Lindsay Dunn

The NBA All-Star Game in Chicago on Sunday marked the first time that Pascal Siakam participated in the game and he did it as a starter. He was joined by his teammate, Kyle Lowry, who is making his 6th appearance and Raptors head coach Nick Nurse and his coaching staff, who coached Team Giannis in the game.

The love for the Raptors and the NBA has been at a fever pitch since Canada’s only NBA team won their first championship last season. For some Raptors fans they didn’t care how much they had to pay to be in Chicago for the weekend, they knew it was special.

“I maxed out my credit card to come here. Don’t tell my wife!” said Reyansh (last name witheld for he sake of his marriage). “My goal is to get a pic with Kawhi Leonard.”

“Oh man, I haven’t even thought of how much I spent,” said Josh MacDonald who flew in from Toronto. “I know it’s well over $5,000 but this is basically a Raptors All-Star team. It’s history. You can’t put a price on that.”

And for others, they are just excited to be at the game.

“I’ll be honest, I jumped on the bandwagon last year and haven’t jumped off,” said Brittaney Anderson who drove from Winnipeg with her boyfriend Scott. “I had to come see this game because I just love Pascal and Lowry and am so excited to be here!”

Brittaney is just one of dozens of Canadians who came to the Windy City for the All-Star Game.

“This is my second All-Star Game,” Gio Scarpelli of Scarborough told CityNews. “I went when it was in Toronto but this time they will be announced as NBA Champions in the line-up. I also went to the Dunk competition last night and I’m still angry about that.”

Scarpelli isn’t alone.

It was one of the best Dunk Contests since the event was held in Toronto in 2016. On Saturday, Orlando’s Aaron Gordon had a perfect 200 score before going into a dunk-off with Miami’s Derrick Jones Jr. In the end Jones Jr. took home the trophy but it wasn’t without controversy. Many felt Gordon should’ve won, including Gordon himself, who said he won’t be participating in the event moving forward.

Don’t worry, Jones Jr. has no hard feelings.

“It’s great. I’m happy that I was able to be a part of this and just be able to go out there and showcase my talents. Just show the world that I am the best dunker in the NBA. I got that down. Now it’s time to go fight so we can get that home seed in the playoffs.”