Kyle Lowry tilting his cap over his eyes to hide his tears as the crowd chanted his name during the trophy ceremony was surreal. It’s hard to believe that any Raptors fan who has followed his Toronto tenure wasn’t overcome with the same wave of emotions that our leader felt.
It’s funny. When I started this blog, the Kyle Lowry era just began for the Toronto Raptors, and what an absolutely amazing journey it has been. 7 years and many playoff heartbreaks later and everything has changed – the logo, roster, coaching staff, GM, arena name – the one constant is Kyle Lowry.
People need to seriously take a step back and appreciate this man. I can appreciate hatred from an NBA fan who doesn’t watch the Raptors due to Lowry’s lack of flash in his game. That said, when I see casual Raptors fans slander this guy – it bothers the heck out of me.
He is the epitome of the Raptors’ team that has won 5 out of 6 Atlantic division titles. Analytics say he’s been a top 15 player in the league for the past 6 seasons. He’s the heart and soul of the Toronto Raptors and this team would not have sniffed any form of success without him. And frankly, there’s no debate that he’s the greatest Raptor of all time. More than anyone else, this is his moment.
This is also for the fans that watched this team during the dark days where our biggest high was watching Mike James drop 30 points in a Raptors loss. The range of emotions is likely unexplainable. Year after year, tragedies ranging from Jorge Garbajosa’s injury to Hedo Turkoglu’s point-forward stints lowered the expectation from Raptors fans to the point where sniffing the playoffs seemed a wild success. A breakthrough like this is hard to absorb.
Making the NBA Finals feels like a pipe dream we have been waiting on for years – and now that it’s actually here we don’t know what to do with ourselves. To those who have started following more recently – you are awesome, and perhaps a little bit spoiled with really good quality basketball. Raptors fans, keep being crazy.
I think it’s also important to acknowledge those who have contributed big time to building this winning culture – namely, DeMar DeRozan, Dwane Casey, & Jonas Valanciunas.
And yes, Kawhi Leonard, you are freaking unbelievable and if you leave I don’t know what I’d do. Pascal Siakam, I am expecting an All-Star appearance next year. Freddy, Marc, Serge, Norm and Danny – way to battle through the ups and downs on both ends. Masai Ujiri – you are a complete boss.
Yes folks, the Toronto Raptors are heading to the NBA Finals to face the Golden State Warriors with home court advantage. Typing this seriously makes me feel like I’m living in a parallel universe, or writing the script for the next Marvel movie. It will take me a couple of days to actually believe it. I’m not sure what will happen to me when the series actually starts.