Raptors NBA ChampsAnd It Began in '95
This is a historic moment that has accumulated from the past 24 years. likewise, it pays homage to what the city represents: it’s resiliency to adversity and acceptance of its diversity.
A moment where the chant “Raps in 6” ran through the city on their way to beating the 2-time Warriors. It is without a doubt a surreal feeling to have the Raptors named as the 2019 NBA Champions.
As a result, this city has been buzzing like it hasn’t seen in the past decades. And the video below will forever give me chills.
It seems like a different mentality was developed as we also dispatched the likes of the Magic, 76ers and the Bucks. But we would be amiss to forget our humble beginnings where it wasn’t always a gleam of hope on our path.
- Started in the Skydome -
It’s ’95 and The 6ix has finally gotten their team back; a reformation of the Toronto Huskies.
With zero expectations and just happy to have a team, a finals run wasn’t even in the same paragraph as The Raptors.
But the first few years built some small hype as the Raptors looked to rival that of even Chicago, LA and New York. And included rookie of the year draftee Damon Stoudamire who gave Toronto a reason to be excited.
- AirCarter -
3 years removed from our expansion year, Toronto acquires draftee Vince Carter; Probably its most prolific Raptor in its early history. He later went on to single-handily make the Raptors the talk of the nation with arguably the best Dunk Competition performance since MJ of ’88.
Vince put Toronto on the map with his highlight reel performances and playoff appearances. Even coming one shot away from what could’ve been the first East Conference finals trip.
The Toronto Raptors were on a high for the time being.
- Ohh Canada... -
Proceeding Vince’s injury and what could be called some of the worst management in the recent era. We began to miss multiple playoffs and became a regular team of lacklustre draft years.
With the emergence of young future star Chris Bosh, management decided to shift gears and part-ways with our poster boy. As a result, we were left with a bunch of scrubs and a guy who refused to play for us…
- We the North -
Trying to build a team around Bosh didn’t work out, we were stuck. Which led to almost a decade long rut with a few disappointing first-round exits.
Made worse by Bosh eventually going to Miami, but I digress.
Enter the ’13/’14 season where the Raptors began their era of rebranding. With the likes of rookie Demar DeRozan, acquired Kyle Lowry and new management under Masai Ujiri. This is when the Raptors were realizing the cultural change in the city.
Drake was our global ambassador, Coach Dawayne Casey was the defensive spark and Masai traded Rudy Gay for a package deal. The Raptors were now creating the new age chemistry the city needed. Just so happened that during this time ReckGear brand was created.
- Jurrasic Park -
The north has risen, was the popular adage that Toronto adopted. And is quite fitting as it has brought Canada together to rally behind its team.
Raptors improved at record paced and continually set franchise milestones. However, there was a roadblock fitting named The King that proved to quite a hurdle.
Lebron James more than proved to be the pillar that couldn’t be passed. Maintaining a serious issue that the Raptors didn’t have an answer for.
Consequently it sparked some much needed change and it came drastically to the 6ix. Needless to say, it was the move that everyone felt for months.
- Jurrasix Leonard -
DeRozan for Leonard was the only talk anywhere; with many reeling from losing its prodigal son. Soon though, we grew trust in the process; even though it had to show its fruits immediately.
Having Kawhi and shooting star Danny Green in red and black created suspense for 82 games of “was this the right move?”.
*spoiler* It was an emphatic yes.
It wasn’t an easy road, and there were many moments where many were ready to say “told you so”.
Even my boy refused to believe it till the bitter end.
Over time though, Kawhi received the utmost in confidence from fans and players alike. Aided by an amazing complement of players.
3 long rounds and a roller coaster finals. It took us to the fourth game 6, where we now have our answer:
The Raptors are now
This is ultimately the future that Masai had planned for and it for sure came at an epic price.
Toronto Raptors have finally accomplished what was set out for from the beginning of 2019.
It took the team to rebuild chemistry around head coach Nick Nurse. And some crucial late season trades, that peaked with the addition of much needed big guy Marc Gasol.
To get to this point and I have thoroughly enjoyed this ride. Watching this team, my team, the Toronto Raptors make their way towards the pinnacle of the NBA. Raptors are no the nba Champions.
And they can proudly hoist that trophy; that symbolizes their blood, sweat and tears through the trenches.
I shall see you at the Parade or National Raptors day. As they announce… “Toronto Raptors, your 2019 NBA Champions!”