Is this finally the Raptors’ year?
DeMar DeRozan is gone, but superstar Kawhi Leonard is certainly helping the healing process for Raptors fans. After the team’s quick start this season, the city is starting to get excited. Post City hits the court and chats with fan fave Norman Powell
Great start so far. Is it time to plan the parade route?
It’s early, you know. We’re just trying to build our team chemistry, build our good habits and win games. We’ve been making some mistakes, so we’re trying to correct those, and if we continue to win games while doing that, all the better.
Losing DeMar DeRozan was big. How was the locker room heading into this season?
I think it’s been good. All the guys on our team, we have highcharacter guys who are committed to winning and doing whatever it takes, sacrificing themselves for the team. Our locker room is great. The veterans do a great job of incorporating the young guys. And the young guys do a great job of picking the brains of the vets.
So-called experts seem to be looking past the Raptors to the big names on the Celtics and 76ers. Does that add any extra fire for you guys?
Honestly, no. We just worry about ourselves and what we need to do to get better as a team as the season goes on. Tell me about the through-the-roof scoring and lack of defence this season. What’s up? It’s an adjustment, trying to adjust to new rules and the officiating with less hands, not being able to touch guys. So players are still trying to adjust and figure out where they are able to defend while not picking up any tickytack fouls.
Tell me about the new guys on the team Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green?
It’s been a lot of fun. I met Kawhi when I was in high school, and I’ve talked to him a little bit. And I met Danny during our summer workouts, and he’s a great guy. He came out to my event and talked to the kids and gave back to my community after meeting him for just three days. That shows you what kind of high-character guy he is about giving back. And that’s a big thing for me. It’s a lot of fun to have guys like that with a championship pedigree and talk to them about their experiences at San Antonio and all their championship runs. So it’s a lot of fun.
I heard the bench mob went on Serge Ibaka’s cooking show, and he cooked up some lambs’ brain. How was that?
It was very interesting. We were very nervous. In previous episodes, he’s done worms, cow tongue, chicken feet, and we just didn’t know what it was going to be. And honestly I didn’t even see the raw brains in the middle of the plate, so when he lifted it up I thought it was like chicken or something. I thought it was chicken the way it was cooked and the way it looked, but then he said you gotta spread it, and that’s when the smell and everything came out. Yeah, it was interesting.
What do you like to do for fun in the city?
Go out to eat. Toronto has a lot of diverse communities and food so it’s always nice to go out and try different things and expand my horizons in the food realm.
What are a few of your favourites?
Right now, my favourites restaurants are Sotto Sotto, I like Copacabana and Ritz Caribbean — that’s my go-to for Caribbean and Jamaican food. What is your idea of perfect happiness? Video games. Do you play with any of the guys? Me, Delon [ Wright], Fred [ VanVleet] and C.J. [Miles] all play. Me and Delon play FIFA all the time. Who’s better? Me.
What is your greatest fear?
Who do you most admire?
What is your greatest extravagance?
Nothing, I don’t really go out and buy things. I buy my necessities. Probably the most expensive things are my house and my mom’s house. So I’ll say my mom’s house.
What is your prized possession?
A picture of me and my uncle when I was younger. We were in a restaurant. He was sitting one way, and I was sitting one way, and we had our arms crossed. My uncle was a father figure in my life, and he died of cancer, so yeah, I feel like that’s my most prized possession.
What is your personal motto?
“Understand the grind.” It’s a motivational tool me and my friends came up with when we were in high school to help with focus in on our goals and what we want out of life.