Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Why I love the Toronto Raptors

Understandably, there's been a lot of negativity towards the Raptors around the net. Fans believe that we possess the talent to do some real damage in this league. But lately, I've started to notice that some of the frustration is beginning to turn into resentment. So to counter this, I want to hear from around the Raptor blogs the top 5 reasons why people love the Toronto Raptors.
I present my top 5 favorite Raptors moments. *note these are personal, and are not always based on the importance of the game at the time.

#5) 2000 All Star Dunk Competition.
Vince Carter and T-Mac put Toronto on the map.Vince Carter vs. Steve Francis. The 1999/00 season was a milestone for the Raptors. Torontonians had finally started to take notice of something other than the Maple Leafs, the Raptors were on a roll. Even though I had watched the Raptors many times since their oppening season, this moment for me was huge in fully converting me to the Raptor cause. I can still remember watching this with my dad (I was 13). Carter's first dunk and the honey dip set a standard. But it wasn't until T-Mac helped him do the through the leg (which literally brought the entire stadium crashing down) that I knew that Toronto had finally been put on the basketball map.

#4) May 2nd 2001: Eastern Conference Quarter Finals (Game 4)- Toronto Raptors vs. New York Knicks
Carter hits the early dunk.

There was a lot of resentment carried over from when the Knicks swept and embarrassed the Raptors in 2000. The Raptors had already taken a surprise win in Game 2, but dropped game 3 in Toronto. Hope in New York was high, but what happened in Toronto during Game 4 set the standard for all coming Raptors playoff games. From the outset of the game, the crowd was electric. Vince had convinced the team to share purple headbands in an attempt to spur team unity. I still credit this game as having a huge part in the Raptor's game 5 win. It was incredible seeing the ACC play as much a part as the players themselves. Who can forget Jerome William's dunk which sent him famously into the crowd high fiving everyone? Or Van Gundy tearing up his team sheet after a Raptors run. Many won't like that I'm praising him so much, but it was Vince Carter who started the party. On the first or second possession of the game, Vince stormed down the pain and delivered a dunk that set the ACC on a 2 hour adrenaline ride. This was followed by a hard punch to the basket pole, followed by a "this is our house" stare down to the Knicks. That's a way to start a party.

#3) 2007: Eastern Conference Quarter Finals (Game 2)- Toronto Raptors vs. New Jersey Nets Anthony Parker's big three after Bosh's rejection.
I was still a bit teary eyed, as many Raptors fans were, at seeing Sam Mitchel get his Coach of the Year Award along side the entire team. The game was nerve wrecking, and I had a personal grudge against Richard Jefferson after his Game 1 post-game comments. Seeing Bosh reject him was extremely satisfying. But the play that followed sent me and my old man jumping up and down in our living room hugging and screaming. I can still remember it: "Jose nearly trips over Jefferson's corpse, passes to AP, AP to Mo Pete..........and back for the three". The ACC, as expected, proved right there to be amongst the greatest NBA playoff venues. That play, for me, represented the Raptors 06/07 season in a nutshell. Just awesome stuff.

#2) April 9 2003: Toronto Raptors vs. Charlotte Hornets-
Keeping the miracle alive.

The season was hilarious to me. The Raps lose 13 straight, then Carter. And somehow managed to win 12/14 to qualify to the Playoffs (which they had to do, and did against all odds). I went to the ACC to watch the Hornets game, and it was during their 9 game winning streak, with 5 games to go. It was the first time that I experienced a playoff atmosphere while being there. The entire place was standing for nearly the whole game. Seeing everyone pick up their socks in Carter's absence was incredible. The game was tight (84-80). But believe it or not, the Raptors were trailing near the end of the game, with our playoff hopes down the line. I don't exactly remember the play, but the big shot in the game came from a three ball that literally sent the ACC to the mental ward. The best memory was this big biker guy picking me up when the shot went in. My old man was hugging some other fans in the background. It was one of the biggest adrenaline rushes I ever felt in a live arena.

#1) May 4th 2001: Eastern Conference Quarter Finals (Game 5)- New York Knicks vs. Toronto Raptors. Alvin William and Chris Childs hit the most important shots in Raptors history.  

Who can forget this? After the rousing Game 4 performance, everyone in Toronto believed it could be done. This game was a war, and the myth of MSG was proven right as a sight to behold. With a little under 3 minutes left, I can still remember Chris Childs shooting a 17 foot shot with the Raptors losing 81-80. All I remember is me hiding behind the couch, and I screamed "Is he crazy?!?!?!?". When the shot went in, I somehow knew we had killed off the Knick's rally.
While it wasn't THE winning shot, it ended the Knicks' rally at that point. This was of course followed by Alvin William's famous shot to seal the deal. At that point I celebrated with my entire family what seemed at the time like a miracle. From then, I called my best friend (big b-ball family) to hear his house in celebration. Outside my door there were people running around with Raptor flags, cars honking in the background.

Damn, I love the Raptors.


  1. new york knights?

    and Alvin's shot sealed it.


    This San Antonio vs Toronto scrubs game, just before VC got traded, was one of the wildest games i could remember.

    It was a typical early Sunday Raptors game and the Raptors were shit with Sam Mitchell fighting VC and Rafer in the locker room already and there was no hope of winning the game.

    The Raptors were down 20(!) points to the suprs in the 3rd quarter and out of nowhere Lamond Murray and Matt Bonner and all the scrubs got hot and blew the Spurs away in the span of an odd 12 minutes or so. One of the wildest Raptor games thats never talked about.

    Shame the Raptors havent been even that close to matching that excitement this abysmal season.

    Read the Yahoo recap for more info.


    heres a shorter link to the boxscore and info on that SA Tor game

  4. how about playing the bulls when jordan was still on the team and him missing the final shot.. the Skydome celebrated in the exact same fashion as OKC did when we lost to them. it was amazing.

  5. Thanks for the comments. (Pointing out my Typos).
    I had almost forgot about Alvin William's shot.
    For some reason Child's 17-18 footer always stood out as the moment we ended their insane rally.

    And yeah I remember that Spurs game, was watching it a my friend's house. It was just in the background when suddenly someone noticed what was going on, it was unbelievable.

  6. Rachel, I was thinking of putting that. But then i remembered that the first time I ever heard of that was the next morning on Sportscentre. Everyone in my school was talking about it. But i never actually saw it live.
    After I saw it on youtube, the skydome went as nuts as when the jays won the world series.