No need to worry about Fred VanVleet. Read MoreRaptors’ VanVleet puts collision behind him but questions bring his family to Disney — Toronto Sun
No need to worry about Fred VanVleet.
The Raptors’ guard left Sunday’s scrimmage early after knocking knees with Anfernee Simmons but confirmed Monday he is fine.
Well, there was that video of his daughter that hit Twitter and gave us all a chuckle. Initially she couldn’t find her dad on the television screen and got a little agitated. Once she found him though she got very excited.
While the rest of us laughed, VanVleet said it actually made him cry.
It’s one of the mostly unseen price these players are paying in order for the NBA to push the start button again.
“That was tough, man,” VanVleet said. “It’s funny ‘cause she’s a character. But yeah, it definitely hits home a little different, you know, not being able to see them.”
VanVleet has the option of bringing in his family after the first round of the playoffs if he and his family choose to go that route, but he’s still weighing the pros and cons on that one.
“I wish they coulda came with us right away, but they’ll have to go through their own process of getting here,” VanVleet said. “There’s a bunch of stuff they gotta do to clear quarantine. There’s a lot of obstacles, for sure. If I didn’t have two small children, I would say definitely yes, but I’m still trying to decide if I wanna put my kids through that.”
The big issue for VanVleet is the quarantine period that would have to pre-date any trip to see dad
“I wouldn’t wish that on anybody, locking my two kids in a room for four-to-seven days with anybody,” he said. “I don’t care how much money you got or whatever the case may be, that’s not an experience I would wish on anybody. My kids are rough, so that might be a long four days.”
On the court VanVleet said he, like everyone else, is still adjusting to a quiet gym without fans for games.
But his primary concern right now is getting back into the flow of the game, something he didn’t feel he managed in the first game and something he never had the chance to do in the second coming out as early as he did after the collision.
“There’s just so many intangibles and so many variables that are not present, so it’s a different game for sure,” he said of the NBA game inside the bubble. “But it’s still basketball at the end of the day, so we’ll see. I didn’t have much rhythm in the Rockets game and didn’t play much in the Portland game, so right now I’m hating it. Until I get my rhythm going, I’ll probably get more into it.”
The lack of rhythm was something head coach Nick Nurse touched on also and it’s not just the time away from the game that has created it.
“I feel good,” VanVleet said when asked where his game was at right now. “I feel good in practice, I feel good when I’m working out, I feel good in the scrimmages. Again, it’s gonna take time. I spoke about this a little bit earlier. We haven’t had our full team pretty much all year and now in this position playing a whole entire new game of basketball with a new team, trying to figure everything out.”
A MASK THAT WILL BE IN DEMAND
Both Nurse and VanVleet were wearing new masks featuring the Toronto skyline with the raised fist that is the symbol for Black Lives Matter when they fulfilled their media obligations on Monday.
Nurse was handing them out to all the team after a former neighbour of his from Liberty Village sent them down. Nadia Lloyd, a local artist designed and sewed an array of locally themed masks and are donating five dollars of every mask sold to Black Lives Matter. If interested you can see her line at nadialloyd.com.
“I just wanted to support a local business, small business owner, great artist,” Nurse said. “I think she did an amazing job.”
A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK
Raptors 905, the G-League little brother of the Toronto Raptors may not be in Orlando, but they are in lock step with what the parent club is doing down there.
Led by 905 head coach Jama Mahlalela, the 905 are teaming up with First Book Canada and Penguin Random House Canada to launch the Raptors 905 Summer Reading Challenge.
Sponsored by Tangerine Bank the challenge is designed to keep students reading through the summer and not just any reading but books authored by Black writers which represent Black people and other minorities in a positive light.
They are stories based on the authors’ own experiences that foster empathy, understanding and a spirit of inclusion for the young readers taking part in the challenge.
It’s right in line with similar initiatives the Raptors are developing and carrying out on the NBA campus as they take part in the NBA restart. The team has made it clear that while the chance to defend their championship is vitally important to them, the chance to use their platform to foster change in society with regards to racial equality is their primary focus.
Five books including Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott, Clean Getaway by Nic Stone, What Lane? by Torrey Maldonado, No Small Potatoes by Tonya Bolden and Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson will be featured in the Challenge.
That’s five books in five weeks for a cumulative total of 905 minutes of reading
Two hundred Grade 5 students from Peel region will be asked to read one book per week and then write a short report highlighting what they have learned and what they enjoyed in each book. A weekly Friday virtual meeting to interact with the author will be led by Mahlalela.
“I’m so excited to be able to participate and help guide some of the discussion around these books and more broadly around some really important issues in our community,” Mahlalela. “I have always been passionate about education and the knowledge that comes through that, and reading is such a valuable tool for kids, and adults, to continually work at and develop.”