A local statistician gives the Toronto Raptors a 51 per cent chance of winning the NBA Finals over the Golden State Warriors. Philadelphia 76ers centre Joel Embiid (21) fails to stop Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard's (2) last-second basket during second half NBA Eastern Conference semifinal action in Toronto on Sunday, May 12, a shot that will now be counted as one of the greatest moments in Toronto sports history. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

Toronto Raptors looking to make history in NBA Finals


Maybe it’s because no Canadian team has won a title in any of the big four North American professional sports (hockey, baseball, NFL football or basketball) in a very long time.

Those last winners–the Toronto Blue Jays and the Montreal Canadiens–were in 1993.

Since then: zippo.

So that might explain why things things are getting just a little bit crazy in Toronto.

In a good way, of course.

A mural painted on the side a brick building showing Toronto Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard is seen in Toronto on Monday. The Toronto Raptors might be one of the most unheralded teams to ever make the NBA Finals. (Doug Ives/The Canadian Press)

It is Toronto, after all.

And over what, exactly?

A basketball team, game and series.

The Toronto Raptors host the Golden State Warriors tonight in Game One the National Basketball Association championship series,

The leadup has seen some fans jump atop a police car following an early-round victory and the NBA warning the Raptors’ most famous fan, the rap star Drake, to put a lid on it.

Actually, nobody should really be all that surprised that the game has struck a nerve.

Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) reacts with Leonard (2) as Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton (22) looks on during the final seconds of the second half NBA Eastern Conference finals basketball action in Toronto last Saturday. If Lowry plays to top form, the Raptors could do well better than many expect. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

A closer look reveals that some of the best basketball players in the world are playing in scholastic and amateur leagues in Toronto.

Many will tell you basketball is the fastest growing sport in Canada.

And it is apparently is paying off for a lot of kids with dreams of glory.

Canada now has the most players not born in the United States in the NBA (13 at the start of the season).

And there is no shortage of star power and brilliance to stir the emotions in this series.

The Raptors are led by a brilliant Zen master of a player from California named Kawhi Leonard, possessor of an uncanny ability to bide is time until he is really needed to secure victory and then provide it (at least so far).

Leonard hoists the Eastern Conferencre championship trophy after the Raptors defeated Milwaukee on Saturday. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

The Warriors are led by brilliant guard Steph Curry (who played briefly as a kid in Toronto), who has led the team to three titles in the last four years.

Should the Warriors win this series, there are few who would disagree that will have to be included in any future conversations about the greatest teams of all time.

But get this: the Raptors are slightly favoured. Very slighty–mainly, some would say, because they hold the homecourt advantage over the next seven games, an advantage, of course, that disappears should they lose tonight.

With any luck at all, this could get really, really good.

Enough to make people forget the last 26 years?

Who knows?

Heck, that’s why they play.

Looking for an omen?

The game of basketball was invented by a Canadian.

With files from CP, AP, Sports Illustrated, FiveThirtyEight, Sportsnet

Categories: International, Society
Tags: , , , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.