On This Day

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One Year Ago Today, the Toronto Raptors Capture Their First NBA Title

Truthfully, I had shivers typing that subtitle.

“The journey”.

It was a fleeting moment after many years of building.

As ESPN’s Rachel Nichols was getting ready to interview Kyle Lowry backstage shortly after capturing the franchise’s first NBA championship, the newly-dubbed Finals MVP strolled over to congratulate Lowry, handing him his trophy.

“The journey,” Leonard said to Lowry.

That’s what made this moment so very special and that is what truly resonated with me, a kid who grew up in Toronto, watching the Toronto Raptors since I was just six years old.

Seeing the struggles of being an expansion franchise first-hand, I, like many people, was there for the carousel of drama and turmoil that has persisted throughout the first two decades of the organization’s history. Whether it was the revolving door of head coaches, the dragged out saga that ultimately led to an ugly divorce with the franchise’s most iconic and polarizing figure, the many years of mediocrity – I’ve been through it all.

I’m 25 years old and outside of the founding years of the franchise, I’ve been through it all and suffered through it all.

To this day, I remember how devastated I felt when the Toronto Raptors were eliminated by the Detroit Pistons in the playoffs so many years ago. Vince Carter, Anthony Davis, Alvin Williams, Keon Clark, Chris Childs, Morris Peterson, I still remember those days like it was just yesterday.

The long list of fan favourites that have come and gone – from Jerome Williams the “Junk Yard Dog” to Derrick Martin, from Amir Johnson to Pape Sow. The Rafael Araujo and Joey Graham draft selections. The Hedo Turkoglu and Jermaine O’Neal acquisitions. The Kobe Bryant 81 point game.

It’s been a very hard journey to the top, but last year’s postseason run made all the years of pain worth it.

It has always been about the journey.

The journey is what made every part of last year’s championship victory so perfect and that is exactly why I cannot wait to watch the Raptors do it again.

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