Everyone thinks they’re the biggest fan of their favourite sports team. Toronto Raptors diehard Kyle Lombardi is no different.
The 30-year-old Torontonian and his new wife Lillian Chiu were in Detroit on Wednesday to catch the Raptors take on the Pistons as the centrepiece of – you guessed it – their honeymoon. It was a night of many happy returns with Kyle Lowry taking the floor for the first time since suffering a wrist injury, but his namesake’s fandom goes much deeper than just holding a sign courtside with his sweetheart. It goes all the way to the altar.
Let’s take a step back and consider just how much the Raptors mean to Kyle.
A Raptors-themed Christmas photoshoot with your dogs? Check.
Celebrate Chinese New Year in a unique team jersey? Check.
Selfie with long-time Raptors broadcaster Matt Devlin? Check.
Describing a Raptors playoff win as one of the best days of your life? Check.
Repping your colours, even on important dress-up days? Check.
Raptors socks for the groomsmen at your wedding? Alright, now we’re talking.
Using the narratives of Toronto Raptors players as metaphors in your wedding vows?
That’s exactly what Lombardi did, looking into the eyes of the love of his life and saying:
“When you left and we were broken up, it hurt more than when Vince (Carter) left the Raptors. However, we’ve built together a DeRozan and Lowry bond that nobody understands.”
The vows run the sporting gamut, referencing former NFL star Randy Moss, four-time Superbowl MVP Tom Brady and former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay. But it’s the analogies to the Raptors cast that bring a tear to the eye.
Lombardi told Yahoo Canada Sports that new spouse Lillian told well-wishers, “I’m his second love, the Raptors are first.” He said his family, deeply aware of his fandom since childhood, were also not surprised, saying, “We kind of expected this.”
“I’m blessed to have a wife who understands and I’m blessed to have a team that can bring the city together like a family,” Lombardi reflected Thursday. “We’re the best fans in the world for a reason, it’s why we travel and why they call us TorontoLoud.”
The previous night, the newlyweds were treated to the perfect wedding present as an inspirational performance from Lowry led the Raptors to a come-from-behind victory in Detroit.