The Toronto Raptors are in Indianapolis to face the Pacers in Game 3 of their N-B-A first-round playoff series. The best-of-seven set is tied 1-1 after the teams split the opening games in Toronto. One Durham Region teacher has been able to witness it all first hand.
Ryan McNeill teaches full day kindergarten at Colonel J E Farewell Public School in Whitby. Today the students were listening to McNeill read the classic Robert Munch book ‘Smelly Socks’.
“We love Mr. McNeill” one of the students shouted. “He is really nice and he likes basketball.”
That’s right, Mr McNeill as the students call him, loves basketball. Something the students don’t know about McNeill is that he moonlights as an accomplished NBA Basketball reporter. During the day McNeill spends his time teaching and reading books with students. At night he is reading stat sheets and interviewing some of the top basketball players in North America.
“It’s like two different worlds!” McNeill said when asked about his two jobs. “You go from teaching the little, little people which is so fun then to 6 foot, 7 –foot giants where I am constantly looking up. It’s just two very different worlds.”
If you have ever wondered what it’s like to sit courtside and watch DeMar DeRozan or Kyle Lowry practice, McNeill knows what it’s like. If you have ever wondered what it’s like to interview Steph Curry, McNeill also knows that that feels like.
“I really enjoyed being at that Air Canada Centre this year and have the opportunity to be a part of the All-Star weekend. I think it was a great way to show Toronto off. You also had two Raptors in the game and it was so fun to be a part of.”
McNeill says he students and a lot of the staff at his school didn’t know that he wrote about the NBA. It’s safe to say that the cat is out of the bag and if any of the students need tips on a three pointer or which Toronto Raptors have the best free throw percentage, Mr. McNeill is the person to go to.