Torrey Craig’s mind was focused on the Nuggets’ opponent Saturday night, the Indiana Pacers, but his heart was 7,500 miles away in New Zealand.
Craig played two seasons for the Wellington Saints — one of the nine teams that make up New Zealand’s National Basketball League — and at the time lived eight hours north of Christchurch, the site of Friday’s attacks on two mosques that left at least 50 dead.
The Nuggets’ forward was as surprised as anyone when the news broke.
“There was no violence there at all,” Craig told BSN Denver. “The police didn’t even have guns when I was there. They had tasers and sprayers and flashlights, things like that. That is the last place I’d expect something like that to happen.
The massacre rocked the quaint, 388,000 person community. In two years of traveling to Christchurch for games against the Canterbury Rams, who call the eastern New Zealand city home, Craig says he never saw anything that made him believe an attack like that could happen there.
“I was completely caught off guard by it,” said Craig.” Surprised, shocked, any way you want to describe it.”
Craig, who only logged seven seconds of action in the Nuggets’ 102-100 win over the Pacers, is still in contact with two players on the Rams, but they weren’t affected by Friday’s events. New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has already confirmed that gun laws will change in response to the biggest massacre in the country’s history.
Craig wrote, “Pray for Christchurch, NZ” on both sneakers that he wore against Indiana.
Nuggets hold a moment of silence for the recent tradgedy in New Zealand. Torrey Craig played for the Wellington Saints, who are located in New Zealand, from 2014-16. He’s wearing these shoes tonight. pic.twitter.com/5O6z4exf0I
— Harrison Wind (@HarrisonWind) March 17, 2019
“Thoughts and prayers go out to anyone that was affected by it,” said Craig said. “It’s a terrible time for the people of New Zealand.”