Ed’s Note: This is a guest post by Sari Birnbaum (@sarimb), who attended the annual Roll With Amir event and tells us what it’s all about.

“Warrior”. “Humble”. “Determined”. “Heart”. These are just a few words used to describe Amir Johnson. He is the heart and soul of the Toronto Raptors, on and off the court. Not a game goes by where Amir isn’t diving on the floor after a loose ball, battling for a key rebound, or making us all hold our breath while he attempts yet another “summer three”.

Off the court, Amir is one of the most generous and thoughtful people I have ever met. He is a fixture in the community, and loves taking part in events around the city. So it’s was no surprise that 4 years ago, in Amir’s first season with the Raptors, he decided to do something no professional athlete in any sport has ever done. He took 50 lucky fans to a Raptors game and dinner afterwards… on him! I was one of the lucky 50 to attend, and I have attended every year since.

The event is called “i Roll With Amir” and was held over two evenings last Wednesday and Thursday. Night 1 began at Home Of The Brave, where we picked up our tickets and were gifted with a Roll with Amir swag bag filled with a sweatshirt, t-shirt, and water bottle with Amir’s face and the event logo on them. We then went to the ACC, where we witnessed the Raptors take down the Philadelphia 76ers and inch that much closer to the Atlantic Division title (which they won 2 nights later.) Thursday was night 2 at Medieval Times, a place Amir chose because it reminded him of attending the show as a child in his hometown of LA. The night began with an hour and a half of socializing prior to the show. He greeted us as we entered and thanked us for attending.

A group photo was taken and we were told to line up – as he sat in a chair fit for a King – he spoke to everyone individually. Many excited fans met Amir for the first time. We moved into another room where Amir was “knighted”. Following that, we entered the Tournament court – and were seated at long tables – dinner was served and the show began. Demar DeRozan, along with his fiancé and young daughter, arrived to show support for their teammate and friend. I was lucky enough to be seated directly behind Amir and Demar, and watching them watch the show and interact with each other, has me so excited for the future of this team going forward. These are guys who genuinely like each other and enjoy being together. Our Raptors are in good hands.

On behalf of everyone in attendance, the biggest THANK YOU to Amir and his friend Veezy, for putting on another spectacular event. We can all look forward to what amazing idea they will have for Part 5! But first… a deep playoff run – this city, the fans and Amir truly deserve it!

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