Remixing The Red Party

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Photos by Gad Elmaleh

 
Amir Johnson, wearing fashion specs and a checkered shirt, hefts up a green bowling ball, almost as big as the basketball he’s used to. Surrounded by Raptors fans, he glides forward and sends it shooting down the lane. He almost gets a strike—almost, but there’s one pin standing. It doesn’t matter, people still cheer. This night’s not about winning or losing; it’s about community, and charity, and basketball—it’s the Red Party Remix. 

The Raptors mingle with fans under the roof of The Ballroom, a unique Toronto venue that combines a swanky sports bar with rock-a-bowl style bowling. Across the room, Terrence Ross leans over a pool table, checking out his options. The Dance Pak are laughing, watching the guests. The party is in full swing.

And for the first time in a while, it feels right for the Raptors to be guests of honour. Let’s be honest, here: the Raptors have never been more exciting to watch than this season. The Raptors have been almost winning against much scarier teams for a while now, and it feels good. This Red Party Remix weekend felt like a proper celebration.

Each year, these events always have great gimmicks, and the bowling alley is an inspired one. The Ballroom is equipped with pool and ping pong tables as well, letting guests and fans match wits with their favourite players.

Individual tickets were $250, which netted you entrance into the exclusive event, gaining you access to a well-stocked open bar, excellent food, and a hefty tax receipt, with proceeds going to the Team Up Foundation, the charity organization that makes the Red Party go.

That’s the real reason for the Red Party Remix, after all—despite the “Foot Locker Presents” hanging over the event, the Red Party is a charity function, first and foremost. The proceeds go towards the revamping of the Scarborough YMCA’s basketball court, replacing the flooring, and putting in new backboards, rims and nets.

So we got to bowl with our favourite Toronto Bballers for a good cause, and we got to check out a lot of style on the floor. Let’s be honest here—just because the Raptors need to work on their game doesn’t mean they don’t clean up well.

Ed Davis rocked a checkered button-up, and Amir Johnson did the same, sporting an untucked patterned shirt, sleeves rolled up, ready to bowl.

Even though Bargnani has a bit to work on, basketball-wise, he had one of the sharpest looks on the floor, rolling in with a sharp dark-grey jacket and white shirt, avoiding a tie.

Calderon almost matches him in a slightly boxy charcoal jacket and patterned shirt. By contrast, Aaron Gray decided to go the comfort route, in a v-neck Ralph Lauren sweater that’s just a shade on this side of dumpy, but that’s okay.

Sweaters were a kind of theme that night. Jonas Valanciunas showed up rocking a fitted v-neck sweater over a striped shirt, which would be fine, but his trousers were a shade of brown that, with the whole ensemble, kind of made him fade into the background a little.

John Lucas was styling and comfortable, having the look of the night in our opinion. Lucas rocked a spotted wool sweater over a white shirt, with gorgeous blue corded cuffs and collar. The pocket is the icing on the cake.

Luckily, we also have Landry Fields to class up the joint a little—check out his tie-and-waistcoat ensemble, which matches a charcoal vest with white shirt and red patterned tie. Add jeans for a touch of the casual, and you’ve got yourself a striking look.

What really ties the whole look together is the watch strap, a splash of colour that keeps the muted greys and blues from washing out.

Of course, Alvin Williams takes the prize for Most Stylish, showing up in a grey-and-blue plaid sports jacket, with matching blue shirt. Snazzy stuff.

Matt Devlin was, of course, wearing his usual bright red jacket with a crisp white shirt, and an intensely patterned tie. Devlin, as always, was full of enthusiasm, a big personality in a party full of them.

That’s the thing about the Red Party—the event doesn’t just celebrate the Raptors or raise money for a good cause, it also highlights why we keep pulling for the Raptors year after year—it showcases their accessibility and their likeability.

That’s why the Red Party has such a good turnout, year after year. Search for Raptors on Twitter and you’ll find hundreds of fans tweeting their support for the team, every day. The Red Party helps solidify the idea that, if the Raptors continue working to improve, they could one day become real contenders.

And, besides, it was one hell of a party.

See our Red Party Remix gallery for more pictures!

 

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