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Toronto Raptors

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Michael Franti

Michael Franti loves arena tours: There are massive crowds to be won over, big stages to jump around on … and most importantly, NBA practice courts. When the singer/songwriter and his reggae/hip-hop/folk/rock band Spearhead opened for John Mayer on a North American tour this past winter, they would often coax their way into professional basketball facilities. “It would always be an off-day for the team,” he recalls, “so the coaches would come out and throw us balls, and we’d shoot and go through drills.”

T.J. Ford

It’s the first game of the Toronto Raptors’ season, and New Jersey Nets point guard Jason Kidd is dribbling the ball down the court, marshalling his charges for an assault on the Raptors’ basket Out of nowhere, his opposing number, T.J. Ford, brazenly rips the ball out of his hands and starts racing down the court The referee’s whistle blows.