Kids and parents lined up for hours outside the new Cellular Point store, which celebrated the opening of their Malvern Town Centre location on April 18.
But not everyone in line was there to activate a cell phone.
Many were excited about meeting “Pops” Mensah-Bonsu, the 25-year-old Britain native who has just signed a one-year contract with the Toronto Raptors.
Cellular Point president Bobby Maker said he wanted to do something different than a regular store opening.
“We’ve always dreamt of going to the next level and we wanted to bring to the small communities the bigger stars,” Maker said.
This has been a dream for him since he started the company in 1999. Now with 21 locations across the GTA, Maker hopes to bring more Raptors to disadvantaged communities by the end of the year.
Bonsu received more than a warm welcome to Toronto. He signed several pictures, posters and basketballs of adoring fans.
“These are the people that make my job worthwhile,” he said. “They come out to every game and support us even in a tough season. They make it easier for us to play.
“When I was a little kid, I loved it when the athletes came out and gave back to the community so I always told myself, if I was ever in that position, I would do the same.”
Not only does Bonsu stress the importance of giving back, he also notes the importance of education.
“I probably wouldn’t be here without my education and my parents,” Bonsu said. “They instilled those morals and values in me at a young age.”
Thirteen-year-old, Maliq Ellis was excited about the event as soon as he heard about it.
“I was very happy to see a real basketball player in person,” said Ellis while gripping his autographed photo of Bonsu. “I hope he continues playing basketball and I would like him to come back because he’s a good dunker!
For more on Bonsu visit: www.nba.com/raptors/roster/