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Eight years ago, they were matched through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto, when Mike was just home from a travel adventure and Isaac was a shy nine-year-old. Today, the two sports nuts say their relationship has matured with age even though they still play a lot of video games.
Who: Mike Boynton, 32, vice-president at PBL Insurance. Isaac Wallace, 17, high school student.
Relationship status: Friends since 2010
Big bro seeking little bro
Mike: Back in 2010 I was a young professional, kind of living for the weekends. I had a chance to do some travelling. Visiting some of the poorest countries in the world, it made me want to give back within my own community. When I got back home, I wanted to volunteer. Big Brothers appealed to me because I grew up with a great older brother and I liked the idea of being able to be that person for someone else.
Isaac: I was 9 when we met for the first time, so I don't remember everything. I think my mom had the idea it would be good for me to have a male role model. Now that I'm older, I can understand why that was important. We met at a basketball court. I remember thinking Mike was a pretty cool guy. He was pretty good at basketball.
Mike: You still outshot me at three-pointers. Even back then.
Mike: We usually get together for a couple of hours a week. Sometimes we'll go to events organized by BBBST, but we also just hang out, play video games, watch the Raptors or the Jays. Our dynamic is brothers – we can definitely get competitive. Just now, we finished a Ping-Pong match. I took Isaac down for once. But he whooped me in NBA2K on Xbox.
Isaac: The sort of things we do together hasn't really changed much. I guess what has changed is what we talk about. Just the other day Mike gave me this speech on why I needed to write down my goals. We talk a lot about the future. I'm in Grade 11 now, so I'm thinking about postsecondary education.
Mike: Seeing Isaac evolve into such a confident leader in his own right makes me feel very proud. I can't say enough about how rewarding this experience has been for me. BBBST currently have 200 "littles" on a waiting list. I would recommend it to anyone.
Brothers for life
Mike: Isaac will always be a priority for me just like the rest of my family. He came to my wedding in Mexico a couple of years ago. In January, I became a first-time dad, so he became an uncle.
Isaac: It was really cool meeting the baby for the first time. I gave Mike the idea for the name, Jordan – I liked it for a boy or a girl.
Mike: And I liked it because Michael Jordan. I guess that's my era.