As the tension builds ahead of a potential title-clinching Game 5 of the NBA Finals, the Toronto Raptors are putting one of the most coveted pre-game rituals in the hands of the fans.
The NBA announced Monday morning that the rendition of “O Canada” before Game 5 in Toronto will not have an accompanying anthem singer, instead “fans across Canada” will be asked to sing the national anthem.
Watch: The Raptors are one win away from their first NBA title, and fans are excited. Story continues below.
You can feel however you’d like about national anthems kicking off sporting events, but it is hard to deny the power of nearly 20,000 fans inside an arena belting out a song at the top of their lungs.
A fans-only anthem can make for a goosebump-inducing atmosphere, as the fan’s collective voice carries far more weight together than any individual effort.
Anybody that stuck around after the Raptors won both games in Oracle Arena in California can likely attest to this, as a wild contingent of Toronto fans stuck were recorded singing the Canadian anthem in the stands.
A roaring rendition of “Oh Canada” in Oracle after Game 4 �⬆️ pic.twitter.com/cE9khILWRg
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 8, 2019
Considering that Raptors fans already have practice performing their anthem in enemy territory, doing so at home should be a breeze.
The fans-only anthem should be a thrilling one. To get an idea of how good it can sound, look back at Edmonton Oilers fans taking over “O Canada” during their dramatic 2006 Stanley Cup Playoff run.
Canada, your cue to sing is just before Game 5 tips off at 9 p.m. ET.