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#NorthernNostalgia week four: Classic Raptors commercials

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It’s that moment you’ve been waiting for!  #NorthernNostalgia is back,  and this week we’re showcasing the best commercials from 20 years of Toronto Raptors history.  As with any other organization,  marketing for an NBA team is essential in attracting and sustaining a pool of support.  Since professional basketball players are generally untrained in the art of performance, the average NBA TV spot will feature lackluster acting and a failed attempt at comedy.  Just check out this atrocious heap of garbage from the New Orleans Pelicans.  Thankfully,  the Raptors have a rich history of hilarious and unforgettable commercials which are sure to make you smile.  So without further ado,  let’s go over these precious videos:

Kevin Willis visits Ajax

Willis spent just three years as a Raptor,  but he was present during the team’s first playoff appearance against the New York Knicks in 2000.  This commercial is equally funny and awkward-  are we really supposed to believe that NBA players wear their full uniform on an everyday basis?  Regardless,  it’s definitely heartwarming to see the soft side of a 7’0 center with a reputation for being tough.  Who wants pepperoni?

Mighty Mouse and Mighty Mouse

Damon Stoudamire was arguably the first star in Raptors history.  Nicknamed “Mighty Mouse” due to his patented fortitude on the court,  this commercial blends that reality with vintage interactions from the corresponding cartoon character.  I’m sure this brings back memories for longtime Toronto fans.  It’s also probably the closest thing we’ll have to a Raptors version of “Space Jam.”


Who could forget Anthony Parker or Jamario “I was in the dunk contest that one time” Moon.  Maybe this clip is a bit corny,  but the grand prize of the contest is possibly the coolest thing ever.  Imagine playing HORSE against two NBA players at your own house.  After two consecutive playoff appearances in 2007 and 2008,  the savvy sharpshooter Parker left for Cleveland before retiring in 2012.  Moon departed from Toronto in 2009,  bounced around seven different basketball teams,  and is currently in the midst of his third stint with the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the D-League.

Yes Coach

Hedo Turkoglu is a man of few words.  To put it bluntly,  his time in Toronto will be remembered for this iconic commercial and this immortal remark.  What’s that?  How did he perform on the court?  I got nothing else to say.

Brand new day

Talk about feel good moments.  Vince Carter reached superstar status as a Raptor,  and his imprint on the city will never be forgotten.  This video reminds us all of his true impact on the franchise.  It takes a legitimate star to land a spot with Nike.  After the recent reception from Toronto fans at Carter’s homecoming and his own emotional outpouring,  it’s finally time to forget the negatives and appropriately commemorate the legacy of an NBA legend.

Prehistoric hydration

Here’s another big Carter endorsement,  co-starring Chris Bosh.

Grandma Cora

Okay, the real Bosh is in this one.  NBA commentator Mike Breen steals the show as he takes sincere offense at CB4’s inadvertent disrespect of Grandma Cora.  Well done,  Mike.


This is likely the most famous commercial in all of Raptors history.  Why?  In the later years of Italian big man Andrea Bargnani‘s time with the team,  “Primo” became synonymous with his formal name.  From the cliche’d commentary to the mispronunciation of “sauce”,  the pathetic and poorly constructed clip matched his play on the court.  Unfortunately,  along with a promising rookie campaign and years of disappointment,  this commercial is still a large part of Bargnani’s image in Toronto.  Oh well.  Don’t expect a video tribute to him anytime soon.

The start of a new era

Here we are today.  In the middle of last season’s playoff run against the Brooklyn Nets,  the Raps unexpectedly introduced “We The North.” And in the time since that fateful first-round exit,  it has become more than just an exciting slogan meant to hype up fans.  It progressed into an identity open for adoption by all Canadians.  It’s the change in culture that Toronto fans have waited years for.  After two decades of being treated as outsiders,  it’s a declaration of acceptance and challenge- the Raptors embody the north.

That’s a wrap on this week’s installment of #NorthernNostalgia.  Have anything to add?  Maybe an old-school clip or a tear-jerking photo?  Share it using #NorthernNostalgia on Facebook and Twitter,  and watch out for next week’s edition!







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4 thoughts on “#NorthernNostalgia week four: Classic Raptors commercials”

  1. Chills for you, tears for me…I had mini-pack season tickets way, way back. I was there when Tracy McGrady threw his shoes into the crowd after the Knicks eliminated TO back in the best of five playoff days. Season tix from the signing of Hakeem until the departure of Bosh. Cheering for the neglected afterthought team playing the neglected afterthought sport in this country for 20 years. Carter, Oakley, Davis,Alvin Williams came closest to glory. We the north might only make sense from a US perspective (after all for most Canadians TO is them the south), but it is the American door the Raptors are knocking upon in this quest for glory. If I had to change one thing, I would make sure that those playing street hoops in TO reflected more diversity. Starting with Sim Bhullar….kids with heritages circling the globe and dreaming Raptor dreams…


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