Windsor fans pose with Toronto Raptors championship trophy

Raptors fan Bentley Wallace, 7, stares at the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy during the Windsor stop of the MilkUP Trophy Tour at Charles Clark Square Saturday. Visitors had to sign a waiver, promising to not touch the gleaming hardware. Photographs and staring were permitted. Nick Brancaccio / Windsor Star

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Five-month-old Hannah Shean was born just as the Toronto Raptors began their historic playoff run to win their first NBA championship.

On Saturday she got her first picture with the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy taken.

“It’s pretty cool honestly,” her mom Tabitha Litt said Saturday afternoon after posing for pictures with the trophy in downtown Windsor’s Charles Clark Square. “We want to raise her to be a basketball fan.”

Litt became a basketball fan after she met her boyfriend Christopher Shean. When she was in the hospital in the spring after giving birth to Hannah, they paid to have the television on in the room so they could watch the Raptors. Hannah went to the Toronto victory parade with them in June.

The Toronto Raptors and the Dairy Farmers of Ontario are taking the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy to eight Ontario cities this month so fans can get their picture taken with it and be part of the championship celebration. Fans across Canada rallied behind the Raptors with the We the North chants and flags, and Jurassic Park events in cities including downtown Windsor, where fans gathered to watch the games on huge screens.

NBA fan Ujamaa Nuckles pretends to kiss the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy during the Windsor stop of the MilkUP Trophy Tour at Charles Clark Square Saturday. Though he was wearing a Pelicans jersey, Nuckles said he’s a great fan of the NBA in general. Visitors had to sign a waiver, promising to not touch the trophy. Nick Brancaccio / Windsor Star

Robert Barlozzari of Windsor said he was happy the trophy made a stop here.

“It’s a historic event,” he said. “It took over the nation.”

His son Vincent, 10, was waiting in the short line for a chance to see the trophy up close. “I’m excited,” he said.

Jaiden Nuckles, 16, left, shoots hoops with his father, Ujamaa Nuckles during the Windsor stop of the MilkUP Trophy Tour at Charles Clark Square Saturday. Nick Brancaccio / Windsor Star

Hayley Smith of Chatham and her 11-year-old son Jaxen Baker got the autograph of Detroit Pistons coach Dwane Casey in Amherstburg on Saturday, when Casey, who used to coach the Raptors, kicked off the Amherstburg Freedom Museum’s Freedom Achievers Program.

Then Smith and her son headed to downtown Windsor to see the championship trophy. Smith said she’d been a Raptors fan from their start in the NBA in 1995.

“It was nice we were able to stand up right beside it,” she said.

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Almost 1,000 people came to see the trophy Saturday during the MilkUP Trophy Tour, said Mollie Rolfe, a production manager with Victory Creative Group that organized the event.

Raptors fans Chris Wallace and his sons, Bentley, 7, and Jordan, 5, right, pose with the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy during the Windsor stop of the MilkUP Trophy Tour at Charles Clark Square Saturday. Wallace, a local plumber, visited Windsor’s Jurassic Park with his sons during the championship series. Nick Brancaccio / Windsor Star

Fans were not allowed to touch the trophy but it was the real thing, said Rolfe.

“The whole idea behind the tour is to bring the trophy to the people around the province who have been a huge support,” she said.

The MilkUP Trophy Tour started in Ottawa and ends in Toronto Oct. 21. The tour will be in London Oct. 19 and Kitchener Oct. 20.

shill@postmedia.com

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