Do­ing it ‘for the mem­o­ries’

Pair of Rap­tors all-stars plan on en­joy­ing fam­ily time dur­ing fes­tiv­i­ties

The Peterborough Examiner - - SPORTS - MIKE GANTER TORONTO SUN mike.ganter@sun­media.ca

Third time is the charm it is said and if that’s the case it should be a very in­ter­est­ing week­end in New Or­leans for both Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan.

The two Rap­tors are mak­ing their re­spec­tive third trips to the NBA’s jewel of the mid-sea­son and both are well versed in what the week­end can be for them.

New Or­leans will ac­tu­ally be DeRozan’s se­cond all-star trip there. His other came here at home last sea­son.

Lowry car­ried the Rap­tors colours along­side DeRozan in Toronto last year but had the stage all to him­self the year prior in New York in a sea­son DeRozan lost 22 games to in­jury and was there­fore never a real con­sid­er­a­tion for the game.

This be­ing No. 3 for both, there is lit­tle that is go­ing to sur­prise them or catch them off guard. Both en­joy the week­end im­mensely and both go into it with sim­i­lar mind­sets.

Specif­i­cally: en­joy it, but don’t overdo it.

DeRozan cuts right to the chase when asked what two pre­vi­ous all-star trips have taught him in terms of get­ting the most out of the week­end.

“The amount of stuff you can say no to, that you never knew be­fore,” he said. “Be­ing able to sit back and en­joy it, not cram every­thing in, do this, do that, do this. Re­ally just un­der­stand­ing to en­joy be­ing around the guys, whether it’s prac­tic­ing, spec­tat­ing the Skills Chal­lenge, re­ally just be­ing a fan and en­joy­ing be­ing part of it in­stead of just run­ning around all the time.” Lowry is of a sim­i­lar mind. “I’m gonna en­joy it,” he said. “I’m do­ing the celebrity coaching, I’m do­ing the three point ... but I’m not do­ing all the ap­pear­ances and run­ning around. I’m just go­ing to en­joy the time. I’m go­ing to try and lie on my bed a lit­tle bit longer, hang with my kids and en­joy the week­end a lit­tle bit longer.”

Both play­ers are bring­ing their fam­i­lies with them and both, af­ter two all-stars of ap­peas­ing the league and team with var­i­ous ap­pear­ances, are mak­ing fam­ily the pri­or­ity.

“It’s still a lot of busi­ness but I think the last one (in Toronto) , I had (el­dest daugh­ter) Diar with me at the dunk con­test, hav­ing her watch that with me, I think things like that I look for­ward to, just hav­ing her have that ex­pe­ri­ence,” DeRozan said. “I can show her when she’s older and look back on mem­o­ries like that. I kind of do it for the mem­o­ries, I do it for my kids, that’s what it’s all about for me. For them to have fun and ex­pe­ri­ence it and one day say, ‘my dad was cool.’ ”

Lowry learned from his first two trips as well.

“You can run around too much,” he said. “That is what I learned from the first one. Now it’s more about en­joy­ing the day and not run­ning your­self ragged. You don’t need to do every­thing. You can just sit and look back and re­lax and go to din­ner and en­joy your fam­ily. More fam­i­ly­time things in­stead of do­ing in­di­vid­ual stuff.”

That’s not to say the two won’t be soak­ing up time with fel­low all-stars. The skills com­pe­ti­tion on Satur­day night is a must at­tend even if you’re not com­pet­ing. There is a Satur­day morn­ing prac­tice and prob­a­bly the most spe­cial of all, the time with the other all-stars get­ting ready for Sun­day’s game. That’s al­ways a big bond­ing time for all in­volved.

DeRozan and Lowry are both keenly aware of the op­por­tu­nity three vis­its (and likely more) to the an­nual gath­er­ing of bas­ket­ball’s best af­fords them and they aren’t about to pass that up.

Per­haps sur­pris­ingly, or maybe not given they see and in­ter­act with bas­ket­ball le­gends al­most on a daily ba­sis, it’s the non-bas­ket­ball celebri­ties tak­ing in the All-Star week­end that get them most ex­cited.

“For me it’s al­ways great when you look over there and look in the crowd and you see all the celebri­ties you watch, the ac­tors, what­ever it may be,” DeRozan said. “In a sense they’re com­ing here to watch you play when we’re so used to watch­ing them en­ter­tain and do what they do. Just to look over there and you might see an ac­tor, a singer or what­ever and you joke with them and they know you. For me, I look at it like ‘Man, how do they know me?’ For me, that’s the cool part of all-star week­end, just be­ing able to be out there and be so­cial.”

In the end though Sun­day’s game is still the be-all and end-all of the week­end. First time? Se­cond time? Third time? Tenth time, it’s that op­por­tu­nity to go up against the best that makes the week­end so spe­cial.

“I can’t wait,” Lowry said his face light­ing up like a kid on Christ­mas morn­ing. “If I get hot, I get hot. If not I’ll just be out there talk­ing trash.”

CRAIG ROBERT­SON/TORONTO

Rap­tors Kyle Lowry, left, and DeMar DeRozan will each be mak­ing their third all-star ap­pear­ance this week­end. The NBA All-Star Game is sched­uled for Sun­day in New Or­leans.

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