Family bond sends Yahoo Fantasy Basketball sweepstakes winner to NBA All-Star Game

Contest winner Nicholas Connor and his wife, Sandy, will be enjoying the 2019 NBA All-Star game in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo courtesy of <span class="s1"> Nicholas Connor)</span>
Contest winner Nicholas Connor and his wife, Sandy, will be enjoying the 2019 NBA All-Star game in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo courtesy of Nicholas Connor)

Consuming the NBA was easier said than done while Nicholas Connor was growing up.

“I grew up in Manchester, England. Coverage of the games were slim to none back in the day. [Watching] it always meant staying up super late!” Connor said. “[But] I remember seeing a video of Vince Carter’s dunk contest [showing] in 2000 online, and I was hooked!”

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Connor’s love of basketball led him to becoming an avid player of NBA 2K, a love shared with his brother, Andrew Connor.

“My brother, who lives in the UK — we play NBA 2K every Sunday. We play as Golden State and I’m always KD (Kevin Durant), ‘The Slim Reaper.’ He’s definitely my favorite player. I feel unstoppable playing as him,” Connor said. “My brother plays as Steph Curry. He breaks ankles and hits deep threes and will often shout, ‘Clean up on Isle 3!’”

Their shared love for the game led the duo to Yahoo Fantasy Basketball, where they co-manage their team and often discuss tactics while playing 2K. In fact, they tag-teamed their way to win Yahoo’s Fantasy Basketball Christmas Sweepstakes.

Thanks to some help from Russell Westbrook and Kyle Kuzma on their team, the duo were victorious in the key matchup that helped win a trip to Charlotte for Connor.

“Honestly, I was just in disbelief,” Connor said. “I couldn’t believe it. I’ve never won anything like this before.”

Fantasy basketball is one of the key ways Connor is able to keep his relationship with his brother strong. It’s bonds like these that are part of the mission of the partnership between the NBA and Yahoo — to cater to not only seasoned veterans of the game, but also to beginners and to strengthen the bonds between friends and family through fantasy.

“As I only get to see him once a year, it’s a great way for us to stay in touch,” Connor said. “Thanks to the NBA and the fantasy sports on Yahoo, it’s helped me keep the bond between me and my bro, despite us living so far apart.”

His foray into 2K and fantasy with his brother opened yet another door into a life-long relationship with basketball, but he didn’t fully embrace the NBA culture until he was able to watch the games on a regular schedule after relocating to the United States — a move he credits to meeting the love of his life, his wife, Sandy.

“I met my wife while I was on vacation in 2014 and we just clicked. She just so happened to live in Las Vegas and after eight hours-plus per day on FaceTime and traveling across the Atlantic eight times in one year, I knew I had to pop the question,” Connor said.

“I gave up everything to be with her, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

The Connors will soon be on a plane from Vegas to Charlotte, North Carolina for a three-day, two-night trip to take in the 2019 NBA All-Star Game. His wife initially urged Connor to take his brother Andrew as his guest instead of her, as he was an integral part in the big win. When his brother couldn’t make the trip, Connor knew “it was definitely going to be me and the wifey.”

“It’s going to be great to visit North Carolina,” he said. “This will be the first vacation for me and my wife since we got married — and it lands on Valentine’s weekend! We’re both big sports fans so it will be an experience of a lifetime for us.”

Oh, and he’s looking forward to seeing some stars, too: “Can’t wait to see KD, but this is the All-Star Game! Uncle Drew, Embiid, James Harden’s beard, LeBron, and Steph — I can’t wait!”

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