This past Saturday, the gyms of York University were filled with hundreds of ecstatic young basketball players from grades 1-12 for the Kyle Lowry Basketball ProCamp. The event, made possible by presenting sponsor Xbox, featured an appearance from the Raptors All-Star guard himself, and will be something the kids involved will take with them for a long time.
The more things change regarding the Raps, the more they stay the same. With a media firestorm surrounding the team, Lowry was able to spend the day away from the madness and instead in a role familiar to him of an active participant in the community.
Part of a two day camp, Kyle entered the gym on Saturday morning, filling the air with excitement. He rotated 1-on-1 games with a select group of attendees, putting a smile on everyone’s face as he showed off his dribble moves and outside shooting against about 10 challengers. The challengers varied in age and included LostNUnbound, a YouTuber with hundreds of thousands of subscribers, known for playing against NBA players.
For Kyle, a lot of the event was about giving back to a place that has embraced him during his rise to stardom.
“I’ve always tried to give back to the place that’s given me so much,” said Lowry. “Toronto’s given me a lot over the past six years going into year seven. I do a lot- as much as I can”
Though DeMar DeRozan’s connection to Toronto has been well-documented this summer, Lowry’s closeness to the city is almost unparalleled.
“It’s been really close, to be here as long as I’ve been here. My familiy’s here, my kids are here, my kids go to school here, their friends are here. So that’s important.”
Camps like these aren’t just for the joy of seeing a famous athlete, though. The emphasis on fundamentals is vital for the development of young basketball players. Lowry made it clear what he wanted kids to get out of the two-day event.
“Just some learning, some skill work, some opportunities, they hopefully made some new friends. Just knowing that basketball is a game of fun. It can really help the world. Basketball as a sport can really bring a lot of people together.”
These kids have grown up as Raptors fans, and amid player movement and turning around of the franchise, Lowry has been the one constant in Toronto for a long time. Meeting your hero is always incredible, and it’s something Lowry himself had admittedly never experienced.
“No, I’ve never had the opportunity to do something like this. For me, it gives me the opportunity to see these kids, and I know how much it would probably mean to them longterm.”
As Lowry and the Raptors embark on their 2017-18 campaign, where the lights will shine brighter than ever, events like these can be a great change of pace for our longtime star, someone who has given everything and more to the city of Toronto.
Maybe next year it’ll be Kawhi’s turn to host.