The Inspiring Story Behind Toronto Raptors Superfan Who Was Just Inducted Into the NBA Hall of Fame

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We have to deal with a lot of troubling stories in this job.

So I really do rejoice in writing about stories that touch the heart.

The story of Nav Bhatia is exactly that.

Nav Bhatia isn’t a basketball player or a coach, he’s a car salesman. But he was just inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame over the weekend along with people like Kobe Bryant, as English journalist Joe Pompliano explained.

Bhatia moved to Canada in 1984, fleeing turmoil in India. But Bhatia, a Sikh, had trouble finding a job because of his “long beard & turban” despite the fact that he had a degree as a mechanical engineer. So instead, he took a job selling cars.

Now some might be discouraged by such a situation. Not Bhatia. In his first 90 days, he sold 127 cars, apparently setting a car selling record that still stands. I’m not even sure how that’s possible, but he made it happen. He then became a general manager of a dealership which he turned into one of the largest and which he then subsequently bought. He also bought the original dealership that had hired him when he came to Canada and became a self-made millionaire.

That’s where the basketball comes in. Once he became financially secure, he was able to indulge his love of the game.

Bhatia was there at every home game no matter how badly the team was doing. As a result of his great and loud loyalty, he got a very special honor.

In 25 years, he never missed a home game. So after all that time, he got an even bigger honor for a fan.

Bhatia was the first fan so recognized in the Hall of Fame and he was so grateful for the recognition of that love.

But the story isn’t only about him. Because Bhatia wanted to share that love of the game he had. So he used his wealth to send thousands of kids to Raptors games, spending $300,000 on tickets each year so people can enjoy the games, bringing people from different backgrounds together to be with each other.

We can use some more Nav Bhatias in this world.