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Culture Watch: The Raptors welcome another baby into the fold

The Raptors have a new dad in their midst, and are having a time while navigating parenthood. Here’s hoping the good vibes go a long way for the organization.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Toronto Raptors Photo by Claus Andersen/ Getty Images

She’s here! In the early hours of Monday, January 29th, Fred VanVleet and his high school girlfriend, Shontai, welcomed their baby girl, Sanaa Marie VanVleet. If anyone has ever doubted VanVleet’s work ethic, the fact that he still managed to make it to the game Tuesday and score 10 points with a baby barely out of the hospital, should be enough to silence any critics. Fred and Shontai have been dating since their days at Auburn High School, which means Fred wasn’t the only one betting on himself. No pictures have been released of Sanaa yet, but one can assume (and hope) that she has a hairstyle identical to her father.

Sanaa joins Diar and Mari DeRozan, Karter and Kameron Lowry, Jonas Jr. and Tauras Valanciunas, Ranie Ibaka, Stella Nogueira, and Ava Miles as the tenth Raptors’ baby. With ten spots already filled, five more toddlers could create a next generation Toronto roster for 2040. Mark your calendars!

Cleveland Cavaliers v Toronto Raptors - Game Four Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images
Indiana Pacers v Toronto Raptors - Game Seven Photo by Dave Sandford/NBAE via Getty Images

In a post-game interview with Rod Black, the twinkle in Fred’s eye when speaking about his daughter for the first time was undeniable. When asked about what he would tell baby Sanaa about the whirlwind 48 hours after her birth, VanVleet laughed, saying he would remind her that she kept both her mother and father up all night crying during her first days.

With six fellow dads on the Raptors, Fred will have no shortage of teammates to go to for parenting advice. The possibility of this is one that made Lauren Miles, wife of the original bench dad, C.J. Miles, chuckle.

Not everyone was sharing in the warmth and joy that a new baby brings though, however. One Twitter user seemed to take offense to Miles being both a father and a basketball player. Mrs. Miles, of course, went off on this person’s (and by person I mean idiot) accusations. Fortunately, she found that even though one person could be so cruel, dozens of other Raptors fans — and decent human beings — would quickly jump to her defense.

Lauren took her frustration with the insult to Instagram, posting a photo of a heartfelt moment between C.J. and new daughter, Ava. This kicked off a round of reassurances from Kiara Morrison, mother of Diar and Mari DeRozan, C.J.’s former teammate George Hill, and the new father himself, VanVleet. Maybe fatherhood has altered Fred’s perspective on parenthood, or maybe he’s just being the all around wonderful person he has always been. Either way, both Sanaa and Ava will soon realize just how lucky they are to have such amazing parents and role models.

From heart warming to heartbreaking, Raptors colour commentator, Leo Rautins was forced to say goodbye to his beloved pug, Baxter, on Saturday. Followers of Leo will know that he spends all of his free time with his “pack” of dogs, and just how much Baxter meant to him.

Any dog owner will can agree with Leo that losing a pet is a heartbreak that will never fully heal. But maybe, just maybe, the happy vibes from all the Raptors newborns around will help.