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Basketball stars surprise fan after spotting themed bedroom on social media



A nine-year-old basketball superfan who made a beeline for his bedroom after school to practice his skills had the surprise of his life when two of his favourite players visited to welcome him home.

Jake Ritchie from Falkirk, a fan of Scotland’s professional basketball team Caledonia Gladiators, was visited by team captain and centre player, Fahro Alihodzic and the forward player integral to David Sloan’s epic game winning BBL Trophy bucket, Prince Onwas.

Jake’s bedroom is covered with Caledonia Gladiators inspired decor including a full wall adorned with a picture of the team lifting the BBL trophy last year, custom bedsheets, mini basketball hoops and custom signs of his favourite players.

His dad, Andrew, 43, designed the room and sourced the materials including bespoke posters from his business Signs Express Falkirk to give it a full basketball makeover for Jake’s ninth birthday in December with the help of the Christmas elves.

After spotting the pictures on social media, the Caledonia Gladiators decided to surprise the primary five superfan with a visit.

Upon walking into the room and spotting the wallpaper featuring the BBL win, Fahro said: “That’s an incredible moment in Gladiators history right there.

“It’s amazing to see photos of our team and players up on the walls.”

The two players spent time chatting with Jake, signing his collection of Caledonia Gladiators pictures and shooting hoops in his mini set up.

The Kinnaird Primary School pupil is a season ticket holder and has attended almost every game of the Caledonia Gladiators with his mum and dad, for the past two years.

Jake plays basketball at his local sports centre and has dreams of playing for Falkirk Fury’s national club programme run by Caledonia Gladiator’s player, Johnny Bunyan’s father, John Bunyan.

Jake’s mum, Sharon, 44, picked Jake up from school minutes before the player’s surprise.

Sharon said: “I’ve been so nervous and excited all day as I knew this would mean so much to Jake, I hardly slept the night before.

“This has been the most amazing experience and surprise for him, he is so buzzing. The Caledonia Gladiators have made a young fan very happy.”

Speaking about the experience, Jake said: “My mum was talking to me about doing my homework on the way back from school, I had no idea this was going to happen.

“I love basketball and I’m a big fan on the Gladiators so to have two of my favourite players in my house, I just can’t believe it.”

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