An all-expense paid trip to New York, the ability to immerse himself behind-the-scenes with the team, and an extra-special treat for his podcast. Here’s what went down at Raptors Uprising super fan’s Phil “TheReelPhilD” Doucet’s Lotto Max Up Close experience.
Phil Doucet was selected for a once-in-a-lifetime ultimate fan experience with Toronto’s professional NBA 2K League team Raptors Uprising, where the resident of the 6ix wasn’t sure what to expect. A year ago, Raptors Uprising successfully partnered with Lotto Max to bring a group of fans to the NBA 2K League studio in Long Island City, and this time around they overlooked no detail in pursuit of making his trip as up close as possible.
“We wanted to make this experience really intimate,” said MLSE Esports Manager Shane Talbot, noting that he became aware of Doucet and his Toronto fandom as soon as he joined Raptors Uprising. “We wanted Phil to get behind the scenes. We wanted him flying with the team, staying in the hotel with the team, eating with the team — everything that Lotto Max Up Close is about.”
Doucet’s experience began at the Bell Fibe House in Toronto — the home of Raptors Uprising — where he had the opportunity to catch Wednesday’s slate of NBA 2K League action alongside Raptors Uprising players. He enjoyed dinner, an up close film session, and a sneak peek at the next North Code, all while forming bonds with Toronto’s NBA 2K League professionals.
From there, Doucet flew with the team on game day to New York before checking into the same hotel as all the league players. After a pre-game meal with the squad Raptors Uprising surprised Phil with a shopping spree at the Manhattan NBA store.
By then, it was finally time to head to the NBA 2K League studio.
Before arriving, Raptors Uprising cleared things with the league to ensure Doucet was able to have all-access. He went with the team up to the practice rooms where he was able to witness first-hand how Toronto prepared for their final game of the season against defending NBA 2K League champions Knicks Gaming.
Then, Doucet had a front-row seat to history.
The Raptors Uprising super fan was at the studio for “Quai Day,” as NBA 2K League commentator Scott Cole deemed it, which featured the league’s first triple-double of the season in record-breaking fashion.
Lining up at centre for the first time in 12 games, SeanQuai “KingQuai614” Harris recorded his first-career triple-double by notching a league-record 11 steals to go along with 10 rebounds and 10 points. The Raptors Uprising big man had to earn his final two points of the game, however, as Knicks Gaming began throwing triple- and even quadruple-teams at KingQuai614 in an effort to prevent him from securing the historic feat.
However, with less than a second remaining, the Raptors Uprising second-year player would get the last laugh. Despite being smothered by yet another triple-team, KingQuai614 managed to get off a shot from midrange and buried it to beat the buzzer, sealing his historic feat and sending Toronto off on a high note — all in front of their new friend and super fan.
“It’s too bad that the NBA 2K League season is coming to an end,” said Doucet. “These types of games are so good that they make you want more.”
An added treat for Doucet was that the whole Lotto Max Up Close experience was hosted by YouTube sensation Fanum, who has collaborated with Raptors Uprising in the past and is well known around the NBA 2K League community. Fanum, who has over 330, 000 YouTube subscribers, joined Doucet for an episode of the super fan’s 2K League Exposé Podcast where the two announced they would be accompanying Raptors Uprising on their upcoming trip to New York.
And despite living in New York, Fanum was still turning heads when he arrived at NBA 2K League studio in Long Island City alongside Doucet and the rest of the team.
“Woah, that’s Fanum!” Numerous kids shouted from different directions as they recognized the YouTube sensation.
Through all the spotlight and commotion, Fanum took the time to meet, take pictures, and chat with the many fans that were thrilled to see him walk through league studio doors.
“He turned a New York crowd into a Toronto crowd in an instant,” said Talbot, capturing the moment.
Doucet had a front-row view to all of this, and soaking it in afterwards with the team in the post-game room upstairs in the NBA 2K League studio, the Raptors Uprising super fan knew he had just encountered something special.
The Lotto Max Up Close experience changed his view of the league and took his fandom to a whole new level. As Doucet mentions, it was a night the team won’t forget and an experience that he will always remember.
“This,” Doucet summed up, “is simply the ultimate fan experience.”
Back in the 6ix after an incredible 24 hours in NYC. Thank you @RaptorsGC @lottomax for the “Up Close” Experience of a lifetime. Will never forget it. To @KennyGotWork @TsJoshh @KingQuai614 @OOCSlim @ImSoFarAhead_ @Sick_x_973 @ShaneTalbot thank you for making me one of the fellas
— Philly D (@TheReelPhilD) July 19, 2019