UPDATE June 8 2019: We are one win away from snagging our first ever NBA championship. The sentiments echoed in my May 29th post below could not have rang more true. I am so proud of this team. This has truly been the year for the Raptors. They levelled the playing field for the Golden State Warriors by beating them on their own turf, not once, but twice – something I am still in awe about. They showed everyone, including the skeptics, that the Raptors are a force to be reckoned with. A pleasant surprise was the decent patch of red in the audience at the Oracle Arena in Oakland – once again showcasing the depth of loyalty that the Raptors fans possess.
As we look ahead to a potential series-deciding game tomorrow night, let’s take a moment to truly soak it all in. This is definitely the year of firsts for the Raptors and will be one of their most memorable playoff seasons to date.
This past weekend marked an historic moment in basketball as the Toronto Raptors captured their first ever Eastern Conference Championship. This win also secured them a spot in the coveted NBA finals for the first time ever in franchise history, and also making them the only Canadian basketball team to make it this far in the history of the NBA.
My previous post about the 2016 playoffs, cited a game well-played by the Raptors that year, but showed a sombre-looking Kyle Lowry following their loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. My post highlighted the importance of ‘losing with class’, but also never losing the ambition to keep going and do better.
Ironically, I quoted Lowry in a press conference at the time saying that the team’s end goal was to get to where the Cavaliers were.
Here’s an excerpt:
“We tip our hats off to those guys. They did what we want to do. They’ve been to where we want to get to.”Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors Point Guard, after 2016 loss to Cavaliers
Fast forward to 2019. We are now there.
The Raptors have made it to the NBA Finals. An incredible moment to soak in for years to come.
Advancing this far is a true testament to the fact that when you are determined and put your mind to something, anything is possible.
But after Saturday’s big win, Lowry said it himself during the celebrations that ‘he wasn’t satisfied’ because it’s really about the big kahuna, the Stanley Cup of basketball, the prestigious NBA championship. And with the acclaim of winning the Eastern Conference finals now under their belt, that hunger to go all the way couldn’t be more fierce.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I have never been a hardcore basketball fan. I’ve always appreciated the sport but I’d be lying if I said I’ve been following the Raptors since 1995. When it came to sports, wrestling was my choice. Ask me virtually anything about the WWE (formerly known as the WWF) from the ’90s – the glory days of the sport, in my opinion, and I could probably go on for a while.
However, if I had to choose from the big 3 – hockey, baseball and basketball, basketball would be my top pick. This victory is a win not only for the fans but for the city and for the country and will go down history as one to remember.
The final round of excitement begins tomorrow with Game 1 against California’s defending champions, the Golden State Warriors.
We have home-court advantage and the unwavering love and support from all the amazing Raptors’ fans that will undoubtedly fuel the Raptors straight to the finishing line.
Here’s to an amazing start to the home stretch.
Go Raptors Go!