The Scarborough Shooting Stars, the GTA's first franchise in the Canadian Elite Basketball League, gave hundreds of tickets to their final home game of the season to University of Toronto students.
The Stars, the eighth team in the CEBL, has a roster of prolific players, including former Toronto Raptor Jalen Harris. Until recently, the team also featured Jermaine Cole, better known as the rapper J. Cole. Home games were played at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre throughout the summer, with Drake showing up to support the team from the sidelines.
The stands were packed with U of T Scarborough students on July 28 after Stars co-owner Sam Ibrahim donated 250 tickets on U of T Scarborough Student Leadership Day, hosted by the Office of Student Experience and Wellbeing.
Ibrahim plans to donate tickets to the team’s final regular season home game every year, to acknowledge students' work and leadership.
"When local leaders serve with a generous spirit, it inspires us all to build a stronger community," says Neel Joshi, the new dean of OSEW at U of T Scarborough. "Having 250 students, staff and community partners all together to cheer on the home team for their final home game not only unites us as a campus, it makes us even prouder to be in Scarborough."
Ibrahim is a former U of T Scarborough student and grew his business, the Arrow Group of Companies, in Scarborough. Joshi says the new tradition came about because both he and Ibrahim "believe in Scarborough's potential and believe that our community has so much to contribute to the world."
"This was about two Scarborough-raised people who are fiercely proud and grateful to be from here and want to show the world why we are a place where leaders are humble, hardworking, and authentically exhibit inclusive excellence."
(photo by Sophia Seoh)
At halftime, Joshi received an SSS jersey in recognition of his contributions to the Scarborough community. Olympic champion sprinter and Scarborough native Andre De Grasse also received a jersey.
Tickets were distributed to student groups and raffled off on the university’s social media channels.
"The air was full of excitement and silence, hoping that our team would take the win each match," says student Sophia Seoh, who attended the game. "The new tradition of donating tickets to students to witness an exhilarating basketball game is very kind, and I hope other students can experience it."