Monday night, Amir Johnson and the rest of the Toronto Raptors hosted the Raps City Social, mingling with fans, posing for selfies and pouring drinks for a good cause.
The charity event, presented by Bell, raised funds to build a new basketball court, hockey rink and soccer pitch accessible by youth in one of Toronto’s neediest neighbourhoods. It is estimated that the MLSE Foundation’s Regent Park Revitalization Project will provide more than 2,800 kids a safe place to play, and the charity has pledged $2 million for their part to make it a reality. It’s a cause that Johnson says he believes in.
“It’s very important. Especially extra-curricular activities, it keeps kids from doing stuff they shouldn’t be doing,” said Johnson. “Basketball is a sport they definitely can learn to play. Even sports other than basketball—football, or hockey—just to keep kids active and get them off the streets.”
A flock of like-minded fans flooded Muzik Nightclub for a chance to meet him and a raft of other headliners, including host Cabbie Richards of TSN and team management. Even fan-favourite alumni Alvin Williams, Morris Peterson and the diminutive Muggsy Bogues were on hand. Richards, of course, couldn’t resist making a Space Jam joke or two at Bogues’ expense.
At the bar, several players were mixing and pouring drinks. Terrence Ross was seen serving up fizzy pink gin concoctions while Kyle Lowry pulled draft beers.
A few of the players brought their significant others. Landry Fields and his wife Elaine stole the show, while Lou Williams and his girlfriend were seen being filmed in the VIP section. Rookie Lucas Nogueira, on the other hand, had no trouble with female attention as he gave autographs just off the main stage.
There was no shortage of style in the house, either. James Johnson was seen dressed in a grey checked blazer and complementary printed shirt, and Patrick Patterson layered up with a cardigan over a Raptors-red polo. However, it was Johnson who stood out from the rest of the pack wearing a sharply-tailored three-piece suit and a classic white shirt.
As for the Raptors’ conspicuously absent global ambassador, Drake? The rapper missed out on the fun shooting Nicki Minaj’s upcoming music video for her new single, “Only.”
If the smiling faces around the full house were any indication, everybody in attendance had a great time coming together for the cause. Raps City Social was once known as the Red Party (and we were there last year). Since launching in 2009, the MLSE Foundation has invested more than $9.5 million into Toronto communities.
Meet a true man of the people
The Toronto Raptors do their part to help raise almost $500,000
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