Raps in seven, says Swirsk

JODY VANCE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:06 AM ET

Chuck Swirsky is one of basketball's great characters famous for his Dick Vitale delivery as he effortlessly delivers flawless play-by-play for the Raptors.

With this club for nine years, he's seen just about everything Raptor-related, "Not quite a lifer Jody, but I've been here for a lot of bad times ... right now it's really good, but it was really bad for a long while."

When asked what makes it great now, he doesn't miss a beat, "If you are looking for an MVP on this team then look no farther than Bryan Colangelo."

Swirsky says that the Raptors GM is a force within the organization thanks to his competitive drive.

"If he was on Wall Street, I wouldn't want closed-door negotiations with that guy."

He goes on to say, "Colangelo embodies the traits any successful GM needs to succeed, he's like J.P. Ricciardi at the Blue Jays in that he is aggressive and firm, he knows what he is doing and he's ready to take risks -- take four risks and screw up one, you're still three ahead."

Swirsky admits that the drive to be a winner is contagious and has made him a better broadcaster. "When you have a guy who is that passionate at the top, you want to share in that passion, you want to deliver the experience that he is selling -- he makes me better."

Indeed, it would appear the GM had brought out the best in everyone: 2006-07 NBA Coach of the Year Sam Mitchell, Chris Bosh and "his team" coming into their own as NBA forces to be reckoned with, scouts, everyone.

"A better everything," Swirsky says, "and all roads lead back to the GM and his maximum level of commitment and competition -- the passion.

"Most of all I am happy for the fans because this team is no fluke. I think this series will go seven and it will be the Raptors who move on."

So Canadian NBA fans had better stock the fridge, if Swirsky is right, you it will soon be time to "get out the salami and cheese, mama!"

Jody Vance is a broadcaster with Leafs TV. Her columns appear Tuesdays and Thursdays in 24 hours.


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