We may no longer have Kawhi Leonard around town but thankfully we still have Superfan Nav Bhatia!

And the legendary basketball fan and car dealer extraordinaire’s profile is expanding.

“Canada Basketball is proud to welcome Nav Bhatia as the Global Community Ambassador of Canada Basketball ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019,” said a news release.

This is coming off being the marshal for the Raptors NBA championship parade.

“Nav is not only a passionate basketball fan but an advocate for the values and benefits the game can have off the court and in the community,” said Glen Grunwald, Canada Basketball president and CEO. “Canada Basketball is excited to work with Nav to grow the game of basketball in Canada, while we continue to chase our goals at the FIBA Basketball World Cup and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.”

Nav, who always talks about how he’s living the Canadian dream, is proud of this.

“My love for basketball and my country, Canada, which has given me everything I have in life, makes supporting and endorsing our Men’s and Women’s National Team programs all that more special to me,” he said.

So what’s next?

“I have only one goal and that is to see our teams on top of the podium with gold medals around their necks, standing proudly for the world to see,” Bhatia said.

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Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors celebrates his teams win over the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 to win the 2019 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 13, 2019 in Oakland, Calif.

Ezra Shaw /

Getty Images

I wanted to offer this out-of-the-box idea for the NBA, The Toronto Raptors and the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers.

Obviously it was sad to see NBA playoff MVP Kawhi Leonard leave for free agency. Same goes for Danny Green. That’s business. But it is highly unusual for it to happen to a team that has won the title, which means no proper opening game ceremony or even ring presentation next season.

It won’t be the same without the players who were such a big part of the win. So why not make an exception and let them come back and suit up for just one more game with the Raptors so that the banner can be raised, the trophy held up, the rings presented and the standing ovations happen?

And all players wearing Raptors colours!


Raptors guard Danny Green attended his first Maple Leafs game on Sunday. Unfortunately, Toronto fell to the Coyotes. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

It could even be in an exhibition game or when the Clippers come here in December. One more game in a Raptors uniform for Kawhi and Green.

Even if only symbolic, it would be a special gift for the fans and returning players.

And it would also fill the void that just doesn’t feel right. We need to see Kawhi one more time on home court — and the whole team with the Larry O’Brien trophy.

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George Bigliardi’s two-year-old filly Teacher’s Pet, with top jockey Rafael Hernandez, wins race at Woodbine on Aug. 2, 2019. (Michael Burns photo)

Speaking of winning, my old buddy George Bigliardi did it again at Woodbine.

The legendary 83-year-old restaurateur has just a couple of horses but competes in with the big stables and sometimes wins.

It happened Aug. 2 with his two-year-old filly Teacher’s Pet, who with top jockey Rafael Hernandez on mount — and trained by Sid Attard — beat three American bred competitors for a $70,000 purse.

George’s cut is about $32,000, which he uses to pay the vet bills, food, boarding and getting the next horse ready to run against groups that have 100 race horses.

“It’s a hobby and a passion,” said the famous Steakman. “The odd win lets me keep doing it. You don’t do it for money. Very few make big money. I do it because I love Woodbine, all the people at Woodbine, I love my horses and horse racing. Win or lose, it’s where I love to be.”

George will be there Saturday for the third race where his three-year-old Truly Elite, trained by Robert Tiller, will be ridden by jockey Patrick Husbands.

Congrats Bigsy. And good luck!

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Peel Regional Police interim Chief chris McCord with members of the Youth in Policing initiative, (L to R) Zuriel Lagunes, 20, Nimra Tul Noor, 17 and Joshua Bernard, 17. (Joe Warmington/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network)

Special hats off to Peel Police Chief Chris McCord who has done a great job of running the service after the retirement of Chief Jennifer Evans and getting it ready to hand off to incoming chief Nish Duraiappah. But one thing that stood out this week was I noticed McCord had with him at a news conference three young people who were part of what they call the YIPI (Youth in Policing Initiative) program.

“They are amazing kids and perhaps the officers of the future,” the veteran copper said of Zuriel Lagunes,

20, Nimra Tul Noor, 17 and Joshua Bernard, 17.

The kids are learning about policing inside and out but McCord said he and his team are learning a few things from the youngsters too.

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Super cook May and her kids, Jason and Brandon, out front of Scarlet Ibis Family Restaurant’s new location on Dean Park Rd. in Scarborough. (Joe Warmington/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network)

Hopefully I will see you at the Taste of the Danforth where there will be 1.5-million people this weekend.

Awesome!

And perhaps as well at the award-winning Scarlet Ibis Family Restaurant’s grand opening of its new location at 30 Dean Park Rd., near the Meadowvale exit of Hwy. 401. They have been a Scarborough mainstay for two decades — and repeat gold medal winners of the Sun Readers’ Choice Awards — but now super cook May and her kids Jason and Brandon are taking their secret Caribbean recipes to a new spot.

The atmosphere is warm and it’s the same fantastic food it’s always been.

I’m already hungry.

Have a good summer weekend everybody. Scrawler out!

jwarmington@postmedia.com



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