No one will ever confuse Chuck Swirsky with The Rock. But he was a rock star of sorts for a lot of Raptor Fans. When you work in the media you get a chance to meet a lot of people. But I can say that Chuck was truly on of the nicest people I have had the pleasure of meeting and talking with. I have told the story before in the blog so I will just give a short version of it this time around. When I was in College, working on a small sports talk show. I did basketball as part of that show. Those little animated movies I have been doing are named after the segment. I really wanted to do a good job covering basketball. So I took a shot in the dark and e-mailed Chuck. I explained that I was wondering if he would consider doing a interview for the show once in awhile. Not only did he answer he was all for it. He would be a guest many times. Not only that he would help me make contacts and be very helpful to me. All from an e-mail. He did not know me and all he knew is that I loved basketball and the Raptors. I really was grateful for all he did.
The Blog never really got rolling to the point that I thought about inviting Chuck to be in it. Also with his own blog I was not sure if he would come on and be in it. Knowing Chuck he likely would have. But for whatever reason he never was in the Dino Nation Blog till now. Everyone was stunned by him leaving. I remember Eric Smith expressing that he found out at same time as everyone else did. In fact I may have even scooped Eric as I read the story early in the morning when it was breaking. I honestly thought it was an internet rumour gone wrong or something. But it was true and on his Radio show an emotional Chuck said he was leaving the Raptors and taking a job in Chicago to work for the Bulls. Now the Bulls are coming into town to take on the Raptors for the first time this season.
I wrestled with the idea of if I should ask Chuck to come to the blog. I had reached out to his replacement Matt Devlin who has been a guest here many times. I really have enjoyed getting to know Matt and he is a fantastic guy. He has been very kind to me and I have been happy to get to know him and help you the readers get to know him. So I didn't know if it was right to interview Chuck. I did not want to be disloyal. But I thought back to the first conversation I had with Matt and he talked about how helpful Chuck was to him in making the transition to replacing Chuck. So I figured Matt would more understand. So it was just a case on if Chuck would be willing to do it. So I fired off an e-mail and in true Chuck fashion his response was fast as can be. Chuck is truly on of the fastest people to responding to e-mail in the world. It is remarkable. He was all for it and said whenever you want to do it just give him a call. That is the type of guy Chuck is. So I was calling Chicago and it was almost strange to hear his voice on the other end. It had been awhile. So I asked him a few questions and he was happy to answer them all. Here is are conversation in the Starting 5.
I also have wrote an article for the Industry Magazine that will be out in February and the topic is Toronto as a future host for the NBA All Star Weekend. Chuck is one of a number of people I asked to give their take on the impact that would have on Toronto. I will let you see what he had to say.
Chuck Swirsky- "I think it would be a spectacular event in Toronto, because the city is tremendous. I think it would showcase what the city is all about. I would encourage the NBA and every board of governor member to allow Toronto to host the event. The city would do a great job. I know that MLSE and Larry Tanenbaum has the point person behind this would roll out the red carpet. I would completely support it. I have supported it. I would do anything I could to provide the energy to make it happen to have the All Star Game there. I hope it can be worked out.”
Personally I have moved on. But that does not mean that I don't still remember Chuck and respect all that he did in his 10 years in Toronto. He did mention that he still is a Canadian which is something that will always make him part of this country. He no doubt had a huge impact on the country in his time here. As you can see is those comments and in the interview he still very much loves Canada even though he did leave. I wish him well and nothing but the best for him and his family. His leaving will always be a bit of a question for folks as to why. I respect that he said it was a family decision and am willing to respect that. I have made my own choices in life based on family and can totally understand. I have had my issues from a broadcast standpoint about Chuck. But never as a person he is first rate. Even those issues I may have as a broadcaster do not change the fact that he was and is very passionate about his job and what he does. May we all have that much passion for what we do both in life and in our personal lives. So I personally say welcome back Chuck.