Mississauga businessman, Raptors ‘Superfan’ in early stages of new attendance streak
Published October 19, 2022 at 3:01 pm
Toronto Raptors’ “Superfan” and Mississauga resident Nav Bhatia will be back in his familiar seat tonight (Oct. 19) behind the basket at Scotiabank Arena as the home NBA club takes on the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers in its 2022-23 season opener.
However, one thing won’t be the same about Bhatia’s Raptors experience–for the first time in 26 years or so, he won’t be starting a new season by setting a new home game attendance record.
When Bhatia, 71, failed to attend the Raptors’ Dec. 10, 2021 home game against the New York Knicks due to a potential COVID-19 exposure, it marked the first time in 26 years, since the NBA club’s 1995 expansion season, that he wasn’t courtside in Toronto to cheer on the home team.
Instead, he cheered on the team from home, where he watched the game on TV while self-isolating.
Some not-so-quick addition at the time put the number of consecutive regular-season and playoff home games (not including portions of the last two seasons when the Raps played their “home” games in Tampa) attended by Bhatia somewhere around 1,060 or so.
Now, his latest attendance streak is likely somewhere in the low 30s as the new season begins.
In a game-day post to Instagram last Dec. 10, which he described as “the toughest post I have had to make. Ever,” Bhatia urged the 19,800 fans in attendance to “cheer as loud as you can for our team! I will be from home yelling and screaming as well.”
Bhatia added at the time that he was heartbroken at not being able to attend the game.
As the Raptors prepare to do battle with the much-improved Cavaliers tonight (Oct. 19), Bhatia told CP24 that he’s excited to start a new season.
“It’s going to be a hell of a game tonight,” the “Superfan” said, adding he’s confident the home side will pull it out.
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