*5 minute read*
This article is quite late but some people need to hear it.
The slander for the Toronto Raptors must come to a close. Many had little faith, many had written us off as early as the first round. But certainly, after winning the NBA championship, you would think the people would give them their rightful props? Nope, not at all. So time passes, people realized that Toronto, scratch that, Canada had just won the most illustrious championship in basketball. Now, finally, they can calmly accept that the Raptors are champions right? Maybe they needed time to understand that Toronto was at the top of the basketball world (this feels amazing to say). This is understandable, as some things take time to adjust to. But again, further denial from many people across the world. Well, I have had enough. Let’s examine what has happened and why the Raptors have earned everything they have accomplished so far. Yes, I am completely biased (because I am Canadian) but still, facts are facts.
Please watch the first 10 seconds of this video. That reaction should tell you everything you need to know. Now, don’t get me wrong. If your favourite team loses in the finals, you are going to be angry and frustrated. But to a Canadian team? CANADA? That completely crosses the line. I had to address the elephant in the room. It’s past sports now, this hurt the national pride of the USA. They just could not accept that the Raptors have finally arrived.
“BUT THEY HAD INJURIES, NOT THEIR FULL SQUAD” Look, you can only play what is in front of you. The Golden State Warriors were unfortunate to have their star players out in games throughout the finals (Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson). When the Warriors won against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2015 NBA finals, they were without their star point guard Kyrie Irving. The Warriors cannot be blamed for that injury. The same gratitude should be applied for the Raptors. How can you blame the Raptors for doing what they are supposed to do? They played who was in front of them and battled accordingly. And they won. They won in America. The Raptors won the championship against one of the greatest teams ever assembled in NBA history, in America. And still, this win is swept under the rug. Unbelievable scenes.
Sometimes the little brother needs to win. Give them credit. I am not asking for everyone to talk about the Raptors every single day. But we have to understand how big of an achievement this was. They achieved something bigger than basketball and it is completely overlooked. If an American team had won the championship, would the same outcome happen for them?
Shout out to Luca Rosano for this video that he posted. Truly bringing justice for the Toronto Raptors. He explains in this video how the media are the main problem. Especially the American media. Hardly any of them believed the Raptors were a respectable team. They promote only for champions in the US. This is for personal reasons mainly, not for the good of sports. So Toronto isn’t allowed to compete? Because we are known for hockey, we have to stay in that lane and not try anything new. This is what the media is preaching. They should know better, especially Stephen A Smith (watch the video to know what I mean). Also, look at what Jason McIntyre said about the Raptors when Kawhi left us (it still hurts).
Overcoming the Odds… Again
Look at Jason. Just look at him. Back to the basement? Irrelevant franchise? What did we do to deserve this? Are the Raptors not allowed to be good at basketball? I guess they should just roll over and let everyone beat them by 20. Sports are competitive, you play to win trophies. The Toronto Raptors did exactly what most NBA teams set out to do every season – win a championship. The ultimate underdogs. A beautiful story don’t you think? Not only was this good for Canada, but it was also great for the rest of the world. It shows how small franchises can grow into something major. It showed how you can build through the draft and how big of an impact coaching can make. And now finally, it came to pass. We will be staying far away from that basement, Jason. The Larry O’Brien trophy shines better with light surrounding it.
When Kawhi left us it was hard to take but it was obvious that we would adapt accordingly. Well, to some of us. Great teams adapt and make it work. And that is exactly what we did. The Toronto Raptors went on a 15 game win streak this season in 2019-2020 (a Canadian professional sports record) and still, where was the love? Where was the media raving about Toronto and how they are still relevant post-Kawhi?
Let’s look at a quote from Stephen A Smith when asked about if Kawhi Leonard would have a better chance at winning a title this season had he remained with the Raptors instead of bolting for the L.A. Clippers. Smith’s answer:
“I’m still gonna go with Kawhi with the Clippers having a better shot of getting to the NBA Finals. I think one of the key things you have to look at when looking at the Eastern Conference is this: First of all, I think Milwaukee may have learned the error of their ways.
Despite the fact that Toronto has won 15 straight, who are they still looking up to? It’s Milwaukee.”
So if Kawhi came back to the same team he just previously won with, he wouldn’t have close to the same success? First of all, the eastern conference is weaker than the west, so his chances are much higher in the east. Second of all, the chemistry and offense were already established by the end of the season. Coming back would have little to no problems, as everyone already understood their role on the team. Going to a new team, Kawhi would have to learn this all over again. It is not easy transitioning to a team and making it work in one season as well as the Raptors did, you have to give them credit. Especially for what they were able to achieve with him and now without him. The winning streak needs greater attention. This was all without having one of the best players in the league. It was just you know, good quality basketball that we ask for from all NBA teams.
Another quote we can look at is by CBS Sports’ Sam Quinn. “Teams that lose a superstar are supposed to go into rebuilding mode, but at 40-14, the Raptors have a better record now than they did last year“.
Wow, would you look at that? Who would have thought? The majority of the media didn’t. That’s a fact. People thought we relied on one guy, that the Raptors were defined by a single player. Yes, Kawhi Leonard played a huge part. But every single team has superstars that carry a certain load (not load management) to propel their team higher. It’s what they are supposed to do. Kawhi left and the Raptors are 2nd in the east and posed to make another finals run. But about that…
Put Respect On Their Name
Dennis Scott, please don’t disrespect the squad like that. Not even making the playoffs? Did we lose every important player in our championship run? This was shocking to watch. Going from defending champions to not even making the playoffs does not add up. Especially with the situation the Raptors were left with. With the talent on the Raptors team and keeping their core players, some thought we couldn’t go back to the top. Unbelievable.
We didn’t ask for respect. We didn’t beg for respect. The Lebronto jokes, the Canada jokes, we took all of that and turned it into fuel. We earned respect. We made it to the top and yet still, the Raptors are looked down upon. But that’s what we stand for. We continue to defy the odds and prove people wrong. We have been doing this for years and will continue to do this for years to come.
ShoutOut The Organization
Masai Ujiri must never leave the Raptors. He transformed the franchise in miraculous ways. He traded Jon Salmons for Lou Williams. Who Is Jon Salmons? Exactly. This is what let me know that Toronto is in good hands. Kyle Lowry, his jersey must be retired. He is the DNA of the Toronto Raptors. Without him, that championship was not possible. And for everyone involved in creating what the Raptors did, shoutout to you. The people have to understand that this championship was much needed. It showed the league that the super teams do not always win. It also ended the current dynasty which was extremely satisfying to watch. Nevertheless, the Raptors are your current defending champions. They deserve to be treated like NBA champions. Thanks for reading, share with a Raptors lover and answer this question.
Is Kyle Lowry the most underrated PG in the league?