My first encounter and interaction with a Raptor

Patrick Patterson is a player I have come to admire so much.

From his great contributions on the court to his social media presence to many of his community involvement initiatives, the Kentucky product just casts a distinctive repute in the Toronto Raptors family.

So when, abruptly on my way back to the office from an assignment late in the afternoon, I saw him walking down the street near 1 Yonge, I couldn’t resist the urge to talk to him.

Although struck by my tininess beside his massive stature, I pushed myself and gave it a try. After all, this could be my only time coming face to face with him. My colleague at work, whom we were walking together, also encouraged me, knowing my passion for basketball and my admiration of the Raps. This is roughly the excerpts of what transpired:

Me: excuse me sir, just wanted to thank you for your great service with Raps.
Pat: thanks sir, not very successful but thanks.
Me: yeah man, I’m really a big fan of yours and liked your exit interview yesterday.
Pat: appreciate that man.
Me: they wouldn’t allow me in but I was following…
Pat: yeah they make it tight in there, right?
Me: yeah. Can I take a picture with you?
Pat: well I’m sorry man, no pictures this time, we’re really down now..
Me: understand man, good luck next season and have a great summer.
Pat: you too man, appreciate talking.

Nice hein! Obviously my picture request was stupid, given the just concluded playoffs circumstances, but I walked away feeling greatly satisfied of the brief encounter.

I think it also says something about him and the team. The fact that, two days after a humiliating exit from playoffs, he can acknowledge feeling down, is a testament to his commitment to work.

More importantly, I really appreciated the humble nature of his responses. He could easily have ignored me, a stranger on the street — I can bet the meets so many like me it can get annoying — or just talk me off.

But he gave me an impression of someone who was listening, and our brief back-and-forth was more human than I’d have expected. And for that, I respect him even more. I knew he was a nice and calm man, from following him on Instagram and Twitter, but you couldn’t be faulted for thinking otherwise, given his composure and stardom in the city and the league.

One of my many dream jobs is to talk to players and write about the Raptors basketball activities. Today, I feel like I somehow lived that dream, albeit briefly.

Thank you Patman! It was nice meeting you.