Meet the Raptors fan who went from the nosebleeds to the team’s official photographer

A Raptors fan who grew up cheering on the team from the nosebleeds has worked his way into one of the most enviable jobs in Toronto sports history.

Photographer Charlie Lindsay has been one of the team’s official photographers during the Raptors’ historic playoff run.

“It’s pretty surreal to just be able to walk on the court and to see us in the finals,” said Lindsay, who grew up in Toronto’s St. James Town neighbourhood.

“I can’t really put it into words,” he said on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning. “It means everything.”

Lindsay has been on hand to capture countless moments over the past two months, ranging from Kawhi Leonard’s Game 7 buzzer beater against the Philadelphia 76ers, to Barack Obama’s surprise appearance during Sunday’s home game against the Golden State Warriors.

“Every game there’s something new,” he said, though his close encounter with the 44th U.S. president stands out as a particularly astonishing moment.

“It was really cool, especially to see the president,” said Lindsay. “It’s different, man.”

He’s guaranteed to shoot at least one more NBA Finals game at Scotiabank Arena, as the series is tied 1-1 entering tonight’s pivotal third game in Oakland.

From high school to the league

Lindsay remembers watching early Raptors teams from the upper deck “Sprite Zone” at what was then the Air Canada Centre.

His career trajectory since then has looked a lot like the pro athletes he now covers for a living.

After picking up photography, Lindsay cut his teeth shooting basketball games at the high school and university levels before getting called up to the big leagues.

“It’s a long, long process,” he said. “Essentially just shooting as much as I could and shooting on different levels … and then eventually it trickles up to the NBA.”

As an official photographer for the Raptors social media team, he was reluctant to make a prediction for the remainder of the finals, but his inner fan emerged after some light prodding from host Matt Galloway.

“Raps in seven,” he said, repeating the prediction a few times for emphasis.

“How can you not?”

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