A familiar face courtside at Scotiabank Arena will not be present for the first time when the Toronto Raptors host the New York Knicks.
Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia announced Friday on social media he will miss his first-ever home game. Bhatia attended the Giants of Africa gala this past Sunday in Toronto where some attendees, including Raptors president Masai Ujiri, have since tested positive for COVID-19.
Toronto Public Health has advised all attendees to self-isolate. Although Bhatia said he is not experiencing any symptoms, he is still following the recommendation.
"This is the toughest post I have had to make. Ever," Bhatia wrote in an Instagram post. "@raptors fans I have been there for you and our team since day 1."
He added: "My heart is breaking right now and all 19,800 of you in the arena are the only ones that can help. I need 2 things from you. No. 1: Cheer as loud as you can for our team! I will be from home yelling and screaming as well! No. 2: Take good care of my friend Kal Penn. I want you all to show him why this is the best fanbase in the league and give him a lot of love tonight. Love you all."
Penn, most famous for starring in the Harold and Kumar movies, is set to produce and star in a biopic about Bhatia, who was the first fan inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame a year ago.
Bhatia's announcement came on the same day Toronto Public Health put an exposure notice on its website for fans who attended Sunday's Raptors-Washington Wizards game at Scotiabank Arena. Toronto Public Health is advising fans to self-monitor for any COVID-19 symptoms for 10 days and to get tested if they develop any symptoms.
Bhatia, who owns a number of car dealerships in the Greater Toronto Area, has been a courtside fixture at Raptors' games since their inception in 1995. He received a championship ring from the team when Toronto captured the NBA title in 2019 and was the grand marshal for the championship parade through the city.