Aiko Nillo never expected to watch an NBA game for free. But on Oct. 19, after posting a tweet referencing San Leandro’s beloved Taqueria Guadalajara in response to Golden State fan forum @warriorsworld, he was surprised to find that team forward Juan Toscano -Anderson had promised him a pair of tickets.
The Alameda-based fan, who just happens to be doing these awesome Warriors illustrations, was quick to agree. It took nearly two months, but Toscano-Anderson kept his word by sending Nillo twice to the Warriors vs. Portland Trail Blazers matchup on Dec. 8.
This act of generosity is just another example of Toscano-Anderson’s philanthropic awareness, in which the player has made a habit of giving back to his home community, inspiring fans and bringing heartfelt positivity that is not always seen at the professional level of sports. As the product of an East Oakland family – not to mention the fifth player in NBA history with Mexican heritage – Toscano was impressed by Nillo’s joke about Mexican food and he decided to make the fan’s lucky day.
A few days after the game, I caught up with Nillo to ask him about his experience at Chase Center. Here’s what he had to say.
48HILLS First of all, have you ever eaten in Guadalajara? !
AIKO NILLO Sure! I feel like it’s a Bay Area staple. It’s just one of those places you have to try. I usually get a tripa burrito. People are still turned off after finding out what it actually is [intestines]. But if you haven’t tried it, don’t hit it. Recently I started having the carne-asada-and-chicharrones combo burrito.
48HILLS I’m sure you didn’t expect a Mexican restaurant in East Oakland to be your literal ticket to the Chase Center. Who did you bring with you to the game and where were you able to sit?
AIKO NILLO I brought my mother. We sat section 123, row 14…damn close to the action.
48HILLS Did you do anything to celebrate this moment?
AIKO NILLO I bought Draymond Green shirts for my mum and I for our celebration. Side note: my mom loves Draymond and she always says he’s her boyfriend [laughs].
48HILLS Everyone loves Dray! What were the highlights of your experience as a fan that night?
AIKO NILLO Just seeing my mom excited to watch the game was my highlight. My dad just passed away last May and they always watched games at home together, so it was really special to see her having fun. I would have given them both my tickets so they could watch it together if he was still around.
48HILLS Sorry to hear that. The beautiful part of sport for me is how it brings us together and creates memories with the people we care about most. Have you ever gone to a game with him or your mother?
AIKO NILLO Yeah, I took my mom when they played the Raptors in November.
48HILLS From the ‘We Believe’ jersey you wore in the photo you posted online, as well as the basketball content you share on social media, I know you’re not just a train working. Apart from this cool moment, what are your favorite memories as a Dub Nation fan?
AIKO NILLO There are so many moments… the “We Believe” season; 51 by Antawn Jamison against Kobe; Jason Richardson winning dunk contests; Klay’s 37-point quarter.