People have a hard time figuring out Raptor fans. Like why on earth were they still booing Tracy McGrady after all these years. I saw a tweet from someone with the Hawks that stated that Raptor Fans are like elephants they never forget. I think that is kind of true and it is kind of what I dig about writing about this team and for Raptor Fans. To often in this modern world, so much gets forgotten and swept aside. A guy can honestly go to jail and comeback and be a hero in this world. Scandal is only temporary and it steals all the headlines. For whatever you personally think about how Raptor fans act towards guys like Vince Carter, T-Mac and Chris Bosh, it to me will always be cool. It is a collective way of people calling someone out for in their opinion doing them wrong. If it was just a one sided thing I might not be as supportive. Thing is that it isn't. If a guy like Jerome Williams, Morris Peterson or Alvin Williams show up at the ACC they are met with cheers. This is because fans believe that these players and a few others showed them respect. They did it through how they played on the court and how they treated folks off the court. Basically people in Toronto are pretty good at figuring out who is genuine and who isn't.
That leads to what Amir Johnson did last night for Raptor fans and his own fans with his Roll with Amir Event. I can't imagine the likes of Carter, Bosh or McGrady reaching into their pocket and with little fanfare taking out 50 fans for the night on their dime. But not just to give them tickets to a game, but to go out with them after the game and interact with all of them and give them stuff. All just to say thanks for their support and love throughout the season. That is what Amir Johnson has done his last two seasons here in Toronto. While on the floor he models the effort and energy and attitude of Raptor fan favourites of the past. He has taken it to a whole new level off the floor with this event. I have the good fortune to talk with anyone on the Raptors I care to with covering games. That is not the case for fans. It is something I always keep in my heart when I cover games. The average fan getting a chance to talk with an Amir Johnson or a Demar DeRozan is a rare and in some cases once in a lifetime experience.
When Chris Bosh decided to check out for South Beach it created the birth of something new. It was the Young Gunz, better known as the more politically correct Young Onez these days. Amir along with Demar and Sonny Weems took Bosh's exit as an opportunity to embrace Toronto fans. It was what they needed badly after watching yet another star player get what he could out of Toronto and then leave them behind saying thanks for the memories. Toronto needed some players to step up and say they were loved and appreciated and that is what Amir along with Sonny and Demar did. While it has been tough times for the Raptors on the floor in the past few years since Bosh has left, it never stopped these guys from being out front and still there doing their part to embrace fans. It is easy to show love for people when everything is going great and your riding high. It takes some true character and genuine love to do it even when things are not so good.
While the Young Onez may still be miles away from bringing a championship to Toronto they have had an impact on Toronto. Sonny Weems still keeps in touch with all the people that supported him here on Twitter even when he was half a world away playing ball in Europe this past season. Amir Johnson had some personal issues that never were made public other than that. Still, he keeps a smile on his face and goes out of his way to embrace the support he gets from his fans. It is something that even in a season like this Raptor fans appreciate.
The Raptors future on the floor finally seems to be turning in a positive direction. Which is great news for everyone. However, don't forget all that was done by guys like Amir Johnson in the days that were darkest after Chris Bosh left. It should be remembered and cheered as loudly as the boos that rain down on the likes of Bosh, Carter and McGrady. But like that Atlanta person tweeted " Raptor Fans are like Elephants they never forget." Make sure you remember that in terms of Amir Johnson because he more than deserves it.