A Year in Review: Top 10 Toronto Raptors Moments of an Incredible 2019
There is no way to end a decade with the most memorable year in Toronto Raptors history.
For the Raptors, 2019 was one for the history books, a year filled with memories that will last a lifetime. It was a year filled with records, new heights, rings, and championship banners. It’s truly difficult to recap an entire year in just ten spectacular moments, but we tried our very best to put a bow on what has been an outstanding year – one that we will never forget.
Without further adieu, here are the top 10 Toronto Raptors moments of 2019!
10. All-Stars SZN
The Toronto Raptors were well represented at the 2019 NBA All-Star Game.
OG Anunoby got the nod to participate in the World vs. USA game, a format spotlighting the top rookies and sophomores in the NBA. Danny Green, who led the NBA last season in three-point percentage (45.5-percent) earned a spot in the Three-Point Shootout.
Lastly, for Sunday night’s spectacle, the Raptors sent a duo of players to the All-Star Game. Kawhi Leonard was named an All-Star starter and was joined by teammate Kyle Lowry in Charlotte.
9. Retro Night
Never forget where you came from.
The Raptors threw it back to the old days as they celebrate their 25th anniversary all season long. Bringing back their vintage Raptors jersey for a set number of home games throughout the season, the Raptors also customized their home floor for throwback nights at the Scotiabank Arena.
With the original Raptor logo at center court, vintage nights are a celebration of Raptors pride.
8. The Summer of Drake
From giving Nick Nurse a back rub mid-playoff game, to being villianized by a multitude of players and members of the media, the Raptors’ Global Ambassador had his finger prints all over the Raptors championship run.
Quite honestly, Drake nor the Raptors could care less for the backlash.
This championship run was unlike any moment in the history of the country and Drake, a Canadian icon and rap mogul was one of the voices of journey.
“We have the best player, we have the best fans in the whole NBA, in the whole world,” Drake proclaimed as pandemonium broke out in Jurassic Park with the Raptors clinching a spot in the NBA Finals. “Look around you, look at this, we created this. This didn’t exist before we were here, look around at the square, this didn’t exist before we were here, we did this.
“It doesn’t matter what anybody says. They can say it’s disrespectful, they can say, it’s this, it’s that. Everybody’s within the rules, everybody’s doing their thing. All we are is proud and passionate. We are like a college sports team – the Toronto Raptors are a college sports team, I promise you.
“I love Toronto, I love this team and we’re going to the NBA Finals.”
The Summer of Drake capped off with an OVO Fest for the ages. With a massive blow up Larry O’Brien trophy on stage, Drake brought out the real “Larry O.B.” in front of an electric crowd.
Drizzy wanted his chip with the dip, and you can bet that Drake got what he asked for!
7. The Improbable Comeback
On the back of Kyle Lowry, the Raptors overcame the largest deficit in franchise history.
Down 30-points to the upstart Dallas Mavericks in the second half, the undermanned champions fought and clawed back into the game, en route to a historic comeback – the largest comeback the NBA has seen in nearly a decade.
“We had a great team effort,” said Lowry, who scored 20 of his 32 points in the final frame. “Malcolm (Miller), Terence Davis, Rondae and Chris Boucher. I give them all the credit today. They won that game for us. Malcolm got a few steals, T.D. hit a couple of big threes. Chris with his defections and blocked shots. Rondae with his putbacks and hustle effort. Give those guys the credit man, seriously.”
Never underestimate the heart of a champion!
6. A Finals Berth
“You’re going to the NBA Finals for the first time in your career.”
When Ernie Johnson uttered that statement to Kyle Lowry, the entire country of Canada took one great, big exhale. It was a first time for all of us. This was the moment when it all felt possible. The Raptors overcame every obstacle put in their path and had just one final road block – the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
Yet, at this moment it all felt so possible.
The entire fanbase felt as confident as ever. This team’s ability to overcome adversity made all of us believe. There was not a single doubt in anybody’s mind that this Raptors team was capable of making history. The Raptors came all this way not to fall short of their goal.
The NBA Finals was the Raptors’ opportunity to show that they belong.
5. A Star is Born
Masai Ujiri and the Raptors knew they had something special in their late first round pick Pascal Siakam.
The Cameroonian forward proved them right in 2019 – his coming out party. In June, Siakam took home Most Improved Player of the Year honours after transforming into an absolute force on both ends of the floor. Averaging 16.9 point per game last season, Siakam showed glimpses of star-power throughout the year, putting the entire league on notice in the NBA Finals for his incredible performances in Game 1 and Game 6.
This season, Siakam has taken another giant step forward. Through 27 games, he has averaged 25.1 points and looks destined to be named an NBA All-Star for the first time in his career.
Who knows, he may even be named an Eastern Conference starter!
4. Chip with the Dip
The final celebration.
Prior to the 2019/20 regular season’s opening tip off, the Toronto Raptors received their championship rings in front of a sold out Scotiabank Arena. The biggest championship rings ever made for the champions, the Raptors got to celebrate their incredible victory once more as the 2019 championship banner was raised.
The Raptors then proceeded to overcome a feisty New Orleans Pelicans teams, starting off the season 1-0. The Raptors showed right from the start of the season that they were ready to defend their championship crown.
3. The Shot
“TORONTO HAS WON!”
Never has there been a Game 7 buzzer beater in NBA history until Kawhi Leonard sunk a corner jumper to sink the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
It was a shot heard all around the world, earning the Raptors a Conference Finals date with the Milwaukee Bucks.
2. A Parade for the Ages
With over three million fans converging in downtown Toronto, the Raptors know how to party, putting on a spectacle unlike anything ever seen in Canada. The champs were ready to party with the fans, albeit, some haven’t stopped partying since their Game 6 victory.
Whether Raptors fans were at Nathan Phillips Square or at any other spot along the parade path, this was a moment of celebration that has been etched in Canadian history forever.
1. We The Champs
To place a cherry on top of the cake, the Toronto Raptors reached the mountain top in 2019.
As one unit, the Raptors defied the odds, reached the NBA Finals after overcoming the Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers and then took care of business in six games. Making an entire nation proud, the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors, a team that has captured three of the prior four championship trophies.
There are many things that 2019 brought to the Raptors and to Canada as a whole, but a championship is what a team plays for and what an entire fanbase craves each year. This year, the Raptors won their first and will enter 2020 as the reigning NBA Champions.