When five-year-old Shabaig Singh Dhillon was told by his basketball coach to huddle up to discuss their game plan for the final scrimmage of his first practice last week, he turned it into a cuddle.
"We looked over and we saw my son organize them into a group where they all started hugging!" his father Gurpreet Singh Dhillon said, laughing. "We then quickly got out the camera and recorded it."
Dhillon, a city councillor in Brampton, Ont., a suburb west of Toronto, is a self-proclaimed baller, who told HuffPost Canada that with his busy schedule, playing basketball is one way he gets to connect and have fun with his boys. However, he added that his wee player hasn't quite yet developed the same passion for the court sport.
"His nine-year-old older brother and I are die-hard fans, but Shabaig hasn't bought into the regular 'die-hard' aspect of sports yet, and is more into the simple joys of basketball, including running, jumping, chasing the ball, and of course, hugging!"
The proud dad said Shabaig, the youngest of four siblings and of all his cousins, lives in a home with his grandparents — all of whom bestow the little guy with hugs constantly.
"He has a very jovial personality. Of course mine and his daily routine involves many, many hugs and kisses," said Dhillon. "He's very loving, and generally greets people with hugs."
All that hugging translated onto the court at the Jim Archdekin Recreation Centre in Brampton —and attracted the attention of sports broadcaster ESPN, which retweeted the video Wednesday, shooting it into viral-dom.
While Dhillon isn't sure how the network saw the video, he knows why it's got a growing fanbase.
“It’s sort of a lesson for adults, especially men, who sometimes feel they have to act a certain way, separate themselves into different groups, or feel threatened by those different than them,” he said.
“These kids were from all different backgrounds, and it was their first practice together. So for them to show co-operation, and get along and organize themselves in a loving way, serves a small reminder that hey, maybe we can learn something from kids!”