The NBA Finals kick off tonight in Toronto with the Raptors hosting Golden State. Woodstock's own Eddie Hawksewood will be sitting courtside at the game, however he will be working.
WOODSTOCK - At least one man from Woodstock will be sitting courtside for the NBA finals tonight in Toronto.
Eddie Hawksewood has lived in the Friendly City for 15 years and is the Stage Manager for Toronto Raptors broadcasts. He will be working with the ABC television crew tonight behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly.
"When I explain what I do, I liken it to people watching Saturday Night Live. A lot of people just turn on SNL and think people are funny, but there is scripting meetings, editing costuming, so much that goes into that one show. My whole role in sports is meeting with the Network, the producer, the operators, the technicians and just making sure that, that game that night is going to go as smoothly as possible."
During the last series Hawksewood got to work the TNT crew which includes living legends like Marv Albert, Shaq, Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson.
"It is very interesting because you see a lot of players that are now broadcasting, a short time ago they were rivals on the court and now they are all on the same page, trying to put together the best broadcast they can. They are all very, very good, you would not believe how they are always on time, knowledgeable, prepared, willing and the professionalism is astounding. Marv Albert, sure he is in the latter stage of his career and he comes under a little bit of criticism because we have a new generation that wants a little bit more flash, more immediacy, this, that and the next but to do what Marv Albert does is absolutely amazing. He has a fantastic voice, a comprehensive grasp and everyone in the production is very reassured that if you give him the opportunity, he is going to put out a fantastic product, every single night."
Hawkeswood describes what it was like inside the arena when Kawhi Leonard hit that mesmerizing buzzer beater to beat the 76ers in round 2.
"I sit court side, mid court with the broadcasters and when he took the shot, it looked a little bit flat to me. I have seen hundreds of thousands of NBA shots and it looked a little bit flat to me. It was unbelievable, it was remarkable that it went in. From a historical stand point, that is the signature moment in that building, whether you call it the ACC or now the Scotiabank Arena. There isn't a hockey goal, there isn't a lacrosse goal, there isn't a remarkable concert, that is the moment in time for that building, it was unbelievable. It will be promo next season, it will be featured in ads, it is never going away."
Hawkeswood says the atmosphere for game 6 against the Bucks was electric and was truly something special to be a part of, when the Raptors won the Eastern Conference Finals. He notes it took him several hours to get home to Woodstock after the game because of the all the celebrations happening on the streets. It was something really incredible for him to be apart of.
The Raptors enter the NBA finals as heavy betting underdogs against the Golden State Warriors, who will be without Kevin Durant for at least the first game of the series. Hawkeswood says he actually likes the Raptors chances in this series.
"I like their chances, it is very easy for anyone to say Warriors in 5, they are rested, they have so many hall of fame players, they have a hall of fame coach but there are a couple of intangibles that the Raptors have. I think if they do win it, it will be in 5 or 7 games, I don't have a crystal ball, they are not going to sweep the Warriors, I think it will be 7. The Raptors advantage is their bench, home court and the X factor is Kawhi Leonard."
Hawkeswood has agreed to check in with Heart FM throughout the finals, so we can get some of his amazing insights, analysis and just to see what the atmosphere is like from someone who is sitting court side. Hawksewood has lived in Woodstock since 2006, his wife is originally from here and his three kids go to school in the Friendly City.
Photos Courtesy of Eddie Hawksewood (submitted)