Lasting Legacy

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Bulldog on the Court, Lowry is the Unquestioned Leader of a Young Team

“One of the best if not the best Raptors ever.”

A 14-year veteran, Kyle Lowry has spent the previous seven seasons of his career in Toronto. He is a 33-years old point guard who’s body has accumulated many miles over the years.

Known for his bulldog mentality, Lowry is always the first person on the floor going after loose balls. He’s always boxing out bigger defenders, stronger opponents. He is constantly looking to absorb contact when he drives to the rim, running directly at the behemoths who protect it. Yet after 14 seasons, you would never think that The Kid from North Philly has ever skipped a beat.

Maybe it’s because the longest tenured Raptor is averaging 21.8 points and 6.5 assists per game while shooting a very efficient 42.6% from long range.

Maybe it’s because he is, at long last, an NBA champion.

Or maybe it’s because he is constantly wearing that same childish smile that you see each time he is on the floor or around the game of basketball.

At the conclusion of the preseason, Lowry was rewarded with a one-year, $31-million contact extension, one that will keep him in a Raptors uniform through the 2020-21 season at the very least. Of course, his impact on this reigning champion team far exceeds what is seen on the nightly basis in the box scores.

“Kyle’s incredible,” said rookie sharpshooter Matt Thomas. “Ever since I got here, he’s been incredible. I’ve been very impressed with the way he conducts himself on and off the court. He’s a true leader, he’s a true pro, he’s a true champion. Just everything he does, I’m impressed by it.”

Lowry is the consummate professional. He is a leader. He is a veteran on an incredibly young Toronto Raptors team and yet, he remains the backbone of the franchise.

“Amazing!” Commented Chris Boucher on the impact Lowry has on the entire roster. “He gets us to the right place. Always makes sure that we do the right thing and I think that’s what we need on this team. We have a lot of young guys, we need somebody to show us the way. He did it so many times so it makes it a lot easier for us to just learn from him and try to follow his lead.”

Despite the absence of NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and savvy veteran Danny Green, this year’s Raptors team is built in the same mold as the Raptors team that brought Canada it’s first NBA championship. They are gritty, they play hard-nosed defensive minded basketball. They may not be the most talented team in the NBA, but they sure as hell look to outwork every opponent in their way.

They are built in the Kyle Lowry mold. This Raptors’ team is a representation of who Lowry is as a basketball player.

“The team’s been around for 25 years,” said Thomas, who spent the majority of his professional career playing oversees after a successful run at Iowa State. “He’s brought the team their first championship. I think he’s going to go down as the best Raptor ever when it’s all said and done.”

Lowry is the unquestioned leader of this basketball team and with the intangibles he brings to the table, a case can be made that he was the most integral piece to the puzzle in the franchise’s championship victory. Leonard was unquestionably the best player, the superstar the Raptors needed to get to the next level, but Lowry brought everything together as he’s done for nearly a decade north of the border.

“Phenomenal!” exclaimed Terence Davis. “Definitely a vocal leader. On and off the court. One of a kind for sure.”

Thomas echoed Davis’ sentiments.

“He’s extremely humble,” said Thomas. “All his accolades speak for themselves. He doesn’t have to treat rookies the way he does. Someone like myself, I haven’t accomplished anything at this level, so he doesn’t have to treat me the way he does if he didn’t want to, but it just speaks volumes about his character, who he is as a person and then obviously, who he is as the leader of this team.”

Lowry’s legacy will be a topic of conversation that goes on far beyond his contract extension. Alongside DeMar DeRozan, the former Villanova Wildcat was able to build a winning culture in Toronto – spearhead the rapid growth of the game of basketball around the entire country of Canada. The legacy that Lowry has built will never be questioned, and if after seven long years doubters remained, they were all silenced in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals.

“They’re going to build him a statue at this point,” said the Canadian-born Boucher. “He’s been here for so long. Won a championship. I think he deserves everything that you could give a player.”

The only question that remains is whether Lowry will receive the distinct honour as being the first Raptor to see his jersey number retired for the rest of his legacy as one of the greatest Raptors of all-time has already been set in stone.

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