Toronto Raptors sophomore swingman took to Reddit Thursday afternoon to field some questions. He opened with the preamble, “Let’s have some fun with this.” He asked users to come prepared with their best. “Don’t hold back!” They didn’t, and nor did he.
He deserves to be an honourary Canadian
It began with misconceptions. “Toronto is a lot bigger and a lot more diverse than I thought,” Ross wrote. “I didn’t know how great our fans would be since I thought Toronto was a hockey city, but the fan support is unreal.” Now he applies Canadian spelling to his writing. “My favourite (Canadian spelling!!) thing about Toronto is the fan support.” He wrote it is an honour—“with a u”—to play for Toronto. “Most players just get to play for their city or state, but I get to play for the whole country so it’s almost like a national team.” Ross has visited Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver. He even listens to Rush and watches Trailer Park Boys. Could he be any more Canadian? As it turns out, yes. Rob Ford follows him on Twitter!
He loves Kobe and the Lakers
He wrote that Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers was his favourite player growing up. He was born in LA and lived there until the sixth or seventh grade. Ross was starstruck the first time he had to guard Kobe. “It was in Toronto, and in my head I was like, ‘ I’m guarding Kobe,’” Ross wrote. “And as soon as I thought that he put up a 3. It was deep too.” Ross’ NBA Mount Rushmore consists of Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Phil Jackson and (so it’s not too Lakers-heavy) Michael Jordan.
He doesn’t like the Nets
Ross paid a back-handed compliment to one of the Nets. He wrote that Brooklyn’s Kevin Garnett is the best player at setting picks “because he sets illegal screens but he never gets caught.” He added, “He’ll literally hold you and you can’t get around him.” Thanks in part to Ross, the Raptors are making the playoffs for the first time in six years. Who does Ross want to match up with in the first round? “I want Brooklyn personally.” That’s realistic—if the playoffs began today, the Atlantic division foes would meet in the opening round.
He is a goofball
Ross admitted he is goofy. “I wish to posterize anybody over 7 foot,” Ross wrote. A user responded, “Be gentle with Andrea.” Ross laughed, to the delight of users. “HE LAUGHED AT A BARGNANI JOKE!” one wrote. “ONE OF US! ONE OF US!” posted another. Ross maintained he is “hands down, no question” the best on the team at playing NBA 2K video games. He is so good that after he beat former teammate Quincy Acy in a round of 2K, Acy kicked a hole in Ross’ wall.
He is candid
Ross was open about his team. He wrote that the funniest guy originally was DeMar DeRozan, but is now Tyler Hansbrough, who he called by his nickname “Psycho T.” A user asked, “I thought he hated being called ‘Psycho T?’” Ross replied, “Maybe, but I still call him that!” He revealed that Hansbrough’s other, lesser-known nickname is “Chops.” Ross continued, “He calls himself ‘Chops,’ but we don’t. He’s crazy, so we still call him ‘Psycho T.’” Ross revealed that the biggest sneakerhead on the Raptors is DeRozan. “He has every Jordan,” Ross wrote. “Literally every Jordan.” And what about Amir Johnson? “Amir is like a little kid…no…like a big kid! He is always doing something crazy.” And Jonas? Tell us about Jonas Valanciunas. “He’s very european. He’s quirky.”
He wants to continue playing with Kyle Lowry
When pressed to pick one current teammate to play alongside for the rest of his NBA career, Ross chose Kyle Lowry. “He’s the perfect point guard.” Ross wrote that he looks up to Lowry for guidance. Lowry is a vocal leader. “Before every play, I ask him, “Yo, what [are] they running?” Ross maintained that the point guard is the smartest guy on the team, recognizes opposing teams’ plays and calls out what they’re doing. “[Lowry] makes the biggest impact on games,” Ross wrote, though his teammate is not perfect. “I wish he was five inches taller and had a little bit more bounce!! haha.”
He has benefited from the trade
Although most people initially recognized the Rudy Gay trade as a “tank move,” Ross wrote that he knew the team was going to improve. “I knew we were gonna play like scrappy, fight til the end type basketball.” Another bonus for Ross: he gets more touches as a result of the personnel change.
He is only getting better
Ross is scoring 10.8 points per game this season. He shoots a sparkling 53 per cent from beyond the arc, up from 43 per cent last season. He credits the hours he has been clocking in at the gym for his improvement. “Towards the middle of last season, I got with the shooting coach every day for an hour after practice,” Ross wrote. “I would just get up shots and it changed my shot.” He has continued to work on his shooting ever since. Ross has been working on improving his scoring off the pick and roll.
He would’ve broke the record if he knew it was 51
Ross tied the Raptors single-game scoring record (set by Vince Carter) when he exploded for 51 points against the Los Angeles Clippers on January 25th. For him, it felt like a pickup game. “It felt like we were just playing for fun with a bunch of pros and we were going bucket for bucket,” Ross wrote. “It was the kind of game that people don’t usually get to see, but this time it happened during the season.” He knew he could pull off something special when he realized he had 23 points at halftime. “Then I just kept hitting 3 after 3 after 3.” He wrote that he thought the franchise high was 56, so he didn’t think he could reach it. “If I knew it was 51, maybe I would’ve pushed for it.”
He confirms Vince put the Raptors on the map
Ross won the 2013 Sprite Slam Dunk contest with a Vince Carter tribute dunk. The 23-year old wrote that Vince Carter was his favourite dunker growing up. “He is the sole reason I ever knew about [the] Toronto Raptors as a kid.” He is adamant that the Raptors should retire Carter’s jersey “simply because he put Toronto on the map. He did a lot for this city and this franchise, so STOP BOOING HIM!” Hear that, fans? While you’re at it, stop booing when the Raptors don’t hit 100 points in a win at the Air Canada Centre. It’s embarrassing.
He is perfect… almost
Ross wrote that if he weren’t playing professional basketball, he would be trying to earn a degree in criminology and then work in forensic science. “I was really good in school, especially during college. I was on it. I got a 3.7 GPA. I was killing it.” Just when he was sounding like a flawless human being, Ross admitted, “I don’t cook though.” So close. At the end of the event, Ross concluded, “This was fun. Gotta love NBA and Raptors fans—they’re the best.” One NBA fan wrote, “This definitely made him one of my favorite players.”