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2005: Raptors Tip-Off Dinner

June 24, 2008

tipofflunch.jpgNovember 10, 2005 — Instead of dishing up baskets, the Toronto Raptors
were at Alice Fazooli?s serving up fine food, dressed appropriately in
red aprons.

The fourth annual Raptors Foundation Tip Off Dinner took place on
Wednesday evening and guests were treated by service from the likes of
Jalen Rose, Morris Peterson, Matt Bonner, Sam Mitchell, and eight other
players and coaches.

In an effort to raise $50,000 for charities across Ontario helping
youth at risk, fans and corporate sponsors came out and had a casual
dinner with the Raptors.

"I love doing this, you know anything that has anything to do with
food, you can sign me up automatically," said Raptor Joey Graham. "I
love talking to people, mingling, I like getting out there and
interacting with the community."

The dining room was buzzing with people getting autographs, picking up
drinks from Loren Woods at the bar, and players delivering each of the
four courses with the precision of a pro.

"I actually have experience waiting tables," said Raptors general
manager Rob Babcock. "I waited tables for several years when I first
started teaching and coaching high school. It’s been kind of fun for
me. It’s a little flash back time."

Some Raptors were more accustomed to waiting tables than others though,
but where they lacked waiting skills, they made up for with

"To be honest I’ve been sitting down, having a few drinks, talking to
everybody," said head coach Sam Mitchell. "I really haven?t worked that
hard. I’m getting a lot of tips about coaching and I’m learning a lot
about some of these Raptors fans and some of them are pretty smart."

The evening got off on the right foot when the crowd was introduced to
Mary Turner, mother to three autistic children who have all benefited
from the Raptors Foundation through a donation that was made to the
Geneva Centre for Autism.

" think they appreciated having a face to put to some of these
charities," said Turner. "It’s a really uplifting event, people are
being so generous."

The generous people at events like this one are what has made the
Raptors Foundation the best in the NBA, a title they are not afraid to
brag about.

"The Raptors Foundation is absolutely the best foundation in the
league. They raise the most money and it goes to great causes so it’s a
tremendous thing," said Babcock. "It’s something that we need to do,
it’s a responsibility that we have."

Another reason for the charity’s success comes from the players that support it.

"The players seem to really have a good time,?"said Turner. "Having
this casual atmosphere must be a lot easier for them. It was nice to
see them having fun and goofing around. You realize what real people
they are too."

The money raised through this event will no doubt help many more people like Mary Turner and her three children.

by Rebecca Virgin –raptors.com