Toronto Raptors ‘Super Fan’ Bhatia has never been late to an NBA game in the last 24 years. But that isn’t the most amazing thing about this Canada-based fan. Year in year out, he spends thousands of dollars on youngsters to bring them into the basketball community.
“I want to introduce this exciting sport to underprivileged kids who cannot afford to watch a game live,” said a big-hearted Bhatia. “Basketball has been so good to me, it has played a big part. Me being a businessman, it has not taken the stress away from me but has given me the opportunity to bring the world together,” he added.
After leaving his homeland India in 1984, Bhatia settled in Canada. During his initial stages there, he worked as a salesman in a Hyundai dealership. He sold a whopping 127 cars in his first three months and that prompted his employer to elevate him to the post of a general manager in another dealership.
Having tasted a lot of success, Bhatia managed to purchase both establishments, after which he started putting in money on something he loves the most, basketball. Asked if his stint with Hyundai made all this possible, he responded, “Yes, it helped me get there. I did well with my business also. But, I am passionate about whatever I do.” Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings will feature in two NBA pre-season matches in Mumbai on October 4 and 5. Bhatia, who knows a thing or two about watching games live, feels this is an amazing chance for Indians to be part of the NBA. “People will get to experience, in my opinion, the best sport on the planet. Once they watch it at the arena, it will give them a whole new feeling. The fans must take advantage of this opportunity right away,” Bhatia urged the supporters to pack the NSCI Stadium to its rafters.
“Cricket is kind of a religion in India. But when I went for my first game in 1995, I fell in love with basketball. Throughout the course of the match, you are in a different zone,” he remarked.