VanVleet’s Home Town of Rockford Opens Own Jurassic Park for Finals
If you thought the Raptors were Toronto’s team, or Ontario’s team, or even Canada’s team, think again. “Jurassic Park’s” are now being organized across the border, and one of those locations of Fred VanVleet’s own hometown of Rockford, Illinois.
More than 3,500 filled City Market Pavilion at the corner of East state and Water Streets in central Rockford to cheer in VanVleet in game 5. An even larger viewing area is expected for game 6.
Asked about Jurassic Rockford, VanVleet said, “it means the world to be revered like that in your hometown, where you come from, where it all started. It’s hard to get 100 of our people in a place like that in a positive environment and have no incidents, so it’s a big deal. That’s what special about our game, that’s what’s special about sports. My entire journey in this and for Rockford is to create a better city than what I grew up in. I think that we’re on the right track to doing that.”
It’s truly remarkable to witness basketball having such a profound effect on a community. VanVleet has spoken many times about his rough upbringing in a difficult neighbourhood and to this day he still lives in Rockford, and makes frequent trips to be with his girlfriend.
During summer’s, he holds youth events, runs basketball camps, and organizes book bag giveaways, aimed at helping disadvantaged families before their kids begin the school year.
“We’re trying to do a lot of things for the city,” VanVleet said. “I feel like it’s my responsibility to keep creating opportunities, creating a better situation, opening doors, going back and giving back. You’re not going to solve all the world’s problems. But it’s about just giving people more choices, so it’s not such an easy choice to go down the wrong path.”
Fred’s community of Rockford definitely acknowledge and appreciate all of the work he’s done for the city, as witnessed by the love and support they are showing him and his team, during this NBA Finals run.