'It’s once in a lifetime, this is the bucket list': Raptors fans follow team south for NBA Finals
As Toronto Raptors fans have taken to the street in celebrations nationwide, it should come as no surprise they are also willing to take to the skies.
Red and black filled Toronto Pearson International Airport on Wednesday morning as fans awaited their flights to California to cheer on their team in Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the defending champions, the Golden State Warriors.
One of those fans, Ricky Liorti, told CTV News Toronto he wouldn’t dream of letting the team take to the court south of the border without him.
“I’ve been to five playoff games and they’re 4-1,” he said. “I’m a good luck charm.”
“The Raptors need me down there.”
It’s a family affair for Ricky Liorti. His father, Frank, is also making the trip to the United States. The father and son duo are season ticket holders, but noted that even accounting for the price of the flight to San Francisco, they’re still coming out on top.
“We pay $1,600 in Toronto compared to $900 in America,” Frank Liorti said. “It’s an experience. It’s once in a lifetime. This is the bucket list.”
That same sentiment was echoed by Anand Doobay, a physician from Markham, who is meeting a Calgary-based friend in California to watch Game 3 in person.
The pair had planned to attend Game 5 in Toronto, but the $1,400 asking price for standing room seats, he said, was no match for the sunshine down south.
Doobay said they ended up getting a pair of tickets 20 rows away from the court at $900.
“I’m going to have to pick up a few night shifts over the next few months to convince my wife this was a reasonable idea,” he joked before jetting off.
Tipoff goes at 9 p.m. Toronto time.
The series is currently tied at one game apiece.
Game 4 will also take place in California on Friday night before the series returns to Toronto for Game 5 at Scotiabank Arena on Monday night.