Cory Joseph Trophy Tour Blog


Writing this blog is Spurs basketball communications coordinator, Mitch Heckart. Mitch began with the Spurs in the PR department in April of 2012. A native Oklahoman, the 28-year-old had never been out of the continental United States prior to the #SpursTrophyTour. Follow his journey this summer with the Larry O’Brien Trophy as it visits 2014 NBA championship teammates around the world in their hometowns.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 30

Cory concluded the week with Larry on Saturday will an intimate afternoon feast with family and close friends (even the mayor attended). Last on the to-do list before Larry set off into the sunset? The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, of course. Cory perched Larry on a chair beside him as he challenged Marco Belinelli to partake in the act (who is next up on the tour). After Cory was drenched in ice water, he dumped a bucket of the same on Larry before grabbing him and running away. Definitely need to check that out on the Spurs Instagram account (@Spurs).

Next up on the #SpursTrophyTour, Larry and myself head to Europe (my first time ever) to visit Mr. Marco Belinelli. Can’t wait to see what his home country of Italy has in store for us. In the meantime — I need to brush up on my Italian. Bring on the pasta.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 29

Friday morning began with Cory appearing on “Canada AM,” which is USA’s version of Good Morning America. The wakeup was early for the Spurs champion — 6:45 a.m. to be exact— in order to make the interview.

The traveling duo then headed off to the CN Tower in downtown Toronto. If you haven’t seen it — check out the photo galleries. Fact of the day: I don’t like heights. Airplanes are fine — I don’t mind them. But the moment we stepped foot in that glass elevator and shot (VERY QUICKLY) to the sky — if I would have eaten breakfast I would have indeed lost it. Fortunately, I wasn’t the only one with a weak stomach (thanks for the company Fara).

Once the elevator doors opened, it was quite a sight to see. Far above Toronto, we took photos in the 360-degree rotating restaurant at the top. If I lived in Toronto — this would definitely be the hot spot for an evening out. Perfectly content and now adjusted to the height, our tour guide announced that we would be climbing another 100 feet to a higher perch (perfect). On this higher lookout was a glass floor to stand on. And if you are wondering, I did stand on it — but I didn’t look down! There was also an option for tourists to be harnessed up to lean over the edge at the top. There is not enough money in the world for me to even entertain that idea.

Larry and Cory then traveled across downtown to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Here, Larry met Stanley. It was definitely a sight to see as the two iconic sports trophies collided. Cory was even allowed to touch the Stanley Cup before he grabbed Larry, raising him high above his head for a cool photo-op. Larry boasted that he was gold plated while Stanley is Silver — but Stanley definitely had the edge in height.

The day concluded with Cory throwing out the first pitch at the Toronto Blue Jays vs. New York Yankees game. Pregame, Cory took the trophy in the dugout and into the locker room for managers and players to admire. As pitch-time approached, Cory grew only a bit anxious — before throwing a beauty (well, a little high) pitch to mark the beginning of the game. You would be nervous too in front of all those people and you hadn’t touched a baseball since middle school!

THURSDAY, AUGUST 28

As promised, Thursday was a touching day as Cory wanted to show off Larry at the Hospital for Sick Children near downtown Toronto. For two hours, Cory and Larry hung out with the children, taking photos, signing autographs and taking part in arts in crafts (well, Cory did — Larry watched). One of the more creative techniques by the kids was sponge painting with basketballs.

One of the kids (my new pal Aaron) asked to have a sit-down with Cory for a quick interview using the hospital’s camera. Post-interview, Cory announced that it was the by far the best interview of the week (sorry media guys)! Make sure you check out the photos from this visit — a very special afternoon.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 27

The Larry O’Brien Trophy has resurfaced, and this week it is in Toronto, the home city of Spurs guard Cory Joseph.

Day one of the #SpursTrophyTour began with Cory taking the trophy back to his own Pickering High School right outside the city of Toronto. The school was ready for his arrival, as the Spurs champion was met with current students, former coaches and teammates and school administrators. All involved congregated in the school’s gymnasium, where Cory thought he was just going to say a few words to the crowd and show off Larry. Much to his surprise, the school announced that it would retire Cory’s No. 5 jersey — marking the first retired jersey in school history. Many of Cory’s close friends and his family were in attendance to share this special moment with him.

The Pickering High School principal, area superintendent and Cory’s old high school coach went to the podium to say a few words about him — all of which raved about not only the player and athlete Cory was, but what an outstanding citizen and role model he was off the court. Cory then took the podium to say his thanks for the honor, as well as speak to the current students about the importance of school, working hard and listening to their parents and teachers.The next two hours were followed by everyone in the gym taking photos with Cory and Larry. What a day for Cory!

Next up on the agenda was a visit to SportsNet, where Cory would appear on the Tim and Sid show. Upon instruction from producers, Cory barged in during the middle of one of their shows carrying Larry — much to the surprise of the hosts. A 20-minute interview followed, with questions ranging from the Spurs recent championship last June to what Cory plans to do this week with good ole Larry. Cory also took time to appear on a TV segment of SportsNet with the trophy to end the day’s activities.

Day two looks to be another very special day, as Cory plans to take Larry to the Hospital for Sick Children, the largest child health research institute in Canada. The Research Institute is known for its groundbreaking research in stem cells, childhood cancer, cystic fibrosis and other diseases.