For the first time, the NBA will host their All-Star weekend outside of the United States, and this year, it's Toronto's time to shine.
Starting Friday (and for some, even before this), A-list celebrities, athletes and basketball fans will take over Canada's concrete jungle with fancy parties, charity events and sneaker pop-up shops.
The Toronto Raptors, Canada's only NBA basketball team, will not only rub shoulders with some of the league's finest players, but our very own DeMar Derozan and Kyle Lowry will also take part in the All-Star game on Sunday.
But coming to Toronto for the first time can seem overwhelming and with the weather forecasting a low (and cold) -17 (closer to feel like -30, or -22 Farenheit, sorry), it's going to be one jam-packed weekend for the 6. But hey, we can handle it. Not only does basketball have Canadian roots, but the city is well-equipped to host a large-scale event.
Here are some reasons why Toronto will be the perfect host of this year's All-Star games.
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Home of the Toronto Raptors — may we remind you Canada's only basketball team — not only are the boys off to a stellar season before playoffs, but two of our very own BFFs Kyle Lowry and DeMar Derozan will both participate in this year's NBA All-Star game. Lowry will also take part in this year's three-point contest. Currently the Raptors sit second in the Eastern conference and held on to a franchise record-breaking 11-game winning streak earlier this month.
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He hasn't been to as many Raptors' home games as we would've liked to see this year (we know, we know, he's working on that album), but Toronto-born rapper Drake is still this city's biggest fan. From dubbing us "the 6" to showing up to cheer for his team to being Toronto's biggest supporter everywhere he goes, the "6 God" will also be around for All-Star weekend as a coach of the celebrity basketball game.
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For any party-goers, Toronto will be the place to be during All-Star weekend. From parties hosted by the likes of Snoop Dogg to Kevin Hart to Shaq, there are tons of clubbing events, galas and parties across the city starting this week. And besides fancy drinks and dance parties, there's also a live reading of "Space Jam" for its 20th anniversary.
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This year the Raptors welcomed their first Canadian players (Cory Joseph and Anthony Bennett) to the team since 2012, but lately, Canadians have been shining in the world of basketball all over the NBA. From Andrew Wiggins of the Minnesota Timberwolves to Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers to Tyler Ennis of the Milwaukee Bucks, it's pretty clear we know how to play the sport.
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One of the pleasures of being the only sports team for an entire nation is having the support and love from basketball lovers across the country. #WeTheNorth quickly became the Raptors' official slogan, and with all of the visiting guests All-Star weekend, we say, welcome to the North side!
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How could we forget about the 2015 Pan Am Games? Or World Pride? Or any other major event in Toronto? Since last summer's busy roster of international games, music festivals and events, the city is set to host large audiences, celebrities and of course, fans.
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The rest of Canada hates us for this, but Torontonians truly feel like they live in the centre of the universe. And with so many athletes, celebrities and events in our soil for the next few days, we say, bring it on.
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