Alumnus marks fandom one jersey at a time

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Maybe Rawad Serhan, BSc’14, has room for one more jersey, you know, to celebrate the Toronto Raptors’ first-ever NBA Finals victory last week.

The day after the Raptors clinched their first trip to the NBA Finals in team history by eliminating the Milwaukee Bucks, the 27-year-old soon-to-be dentist posted a video of himself wearing 20 of the more than 40 Raptors jerseys he owns. The video shows him pulling each one off in a retrospective carousel of the various Toronto jersey styles and players over the years.

The video has since gone viral with more than one million views on Bleacher Report, The Score, CBC Sports, the Toronto Star and other sites.

“The reaction we got out of this was crazy,” said Serhan, who crosses the stage during the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry Convocation June 20 at Alumni Hall.

Serhan has been a Raptors fans since he was 9, walking proudly around London with his first Raptors jersey – No. 15 Vince Carter. Since, the collection has steadily grown, running the gamut from Tracy McGrady and Marcus Camby to Norman Powell and Kawhi Leonard.

So why showcase the special collection?

“It was a very spur-of-the-moment type video,” Serhan said. “My fianceé was over so we could pick out some outfits to wear for our engagement photo shoot coming up. For fun, I put on a jersey said we should try this. And then I just kept putting them on.”

Honestly, Serhan hoped his Raptor fandom might somehow get him some free tickets to the May 30 opening game of the NBA Finals. That didn’t happen. Instead, he paid what he refers to as a “hefty price” to be at the game.

But perhaps it was worth it. In Game 1, the Raptors dominated the Golden State Warriors 118-109. However, the back-to-back defending champs came back to even the series Sunday night with a 109-104 win. Game 3 is Wednesday night in Oakland, Calif.

Serhan admits the jersey collection is not complete. He was in a downtown Toronto sports store just hours before Game 1’s tip-off contemplating another purchase.

“There were two or three I’ve being eyeing,” he said.

Serhan doned his Leonard jersey for the series opener.

“I’m super proud of this team because they’ve already exceeded my expectations,” he said. “I know we’re considered underdogs going into this, but we have a really good team and a really good chance. If we give them a good fight, it’s going to be amazing. I’m just going to soak it all in and enjoy, win or lose.”

Editor’s note: This story was updated on Monday, June 3, to reflect the results of Sunday night’s game.