Timberlake Raps in T.O.

Angela Pacienza

, Last Updated: 7:55 PM ET

TORONTO (CP) -- Justin Timberlake gave a group of Grade 8 students a thrill Thursday when he made a surprise visit to a Toronto Raptors basketball workshop held at a downtown elementary school.

Wearing black shorts and a white Raptors sweatshirt, Timberlake strode into the gymnasium after being asked to "even out the odds" in a game between students and members of the NBA team.

"It seems a bit unfair it's four of you guys and only three of us," said Raptors guard Rafer Alston, who was joined by forwards Chris Bosh and Donyell Marshall.

"We need another participant. We're gonna grab ourselves another player. We're gonna bring out Justin Timberlake to be on our team."

The gym then erupted with screams of: "No way" and "Oh my god."

The publicity stunt was arranged by McDonald's Canada as part of a marketing campaign to convince people that eating at the fast-food joint can be part of a healthy lifestyle.

And, like Timberlake's commercial says, the kids were "lovin' it."

Girls fanned themselves in the overly dramatic way only a teen heart throb can inspire. The boys, meanwhile, were keen to bone up on professional dribbling techniques.

The 10-minute appearance was arranged in true sleuth form. The 30 kids were told they'd be participating in a noon-hour clinic with the Raptors' mascot to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Men in fancy suits and dark shades stood guard at the gym's two entrances ensuring no one from the outside could enter. Media were given strict orders not to alert the public of Timberlake's impending arrival.

After volunteer players from the Waterfront Public School class were selected, the action got underway to the soundtrack of Timberlake's commercial.

"Don't be afraid of 'em," Timberlake told his shy teammates, who seemed overwhelmed by the TV crews hovering around them on the tiny court. The singer took few shots on net, taking care to give his young players a chance to touch the ball.

After the short game, Timberlake was whisked away. Organizers told the kids he had a busy schedule and had to leave immediately.

Students remained star-struck even after the teen heartthrob had left the building.

"He's wicked. He's so cool," gushed a wide-eyed Rebecca Polard, 11.

"I didn't believe it at first. I thought it was somebody acting like him. But it was really him. Oh my gosh, I had tears in my eyes."

Twelve-year-old Osama, on the other hand, said he wasn't all that impressed with Timberlake's act of charity.

"I'm not a fan of music," said the serious youngster, who was shy about giving him last name.


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