Toronto Raptors NBA title win another memorable moment to unite Canada

Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Winning the first championship in franchise history, the Toronto Raptors have given Canada the sporting moment they have been craving for decades.

For 24 years, Toronto Raptors fans have been waiting for this and despite some tense moments and a drawn-out final seconds, the Larry O’Brien Trophy will make its way north of the border.

Obviously, this means a lot for the players, the organization but no offence to other NBA champions, the significance of this title win magnifies in a way the league has never seen.

One of the biggest stories during this playoff run, especially the Finals, was how Canada came together to watch this historic moment from across the country. Canadians were packing bars, several outdoor watch parties and celebrating in the streets.

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When you look back at moments that have united Canadian sports fans like Team Canada winning the Gold Medal at the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympics, beating Russia1972 or even the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992 and 1993, you can’t wait for the next one to come.

Unfortunately, the closest this country has been to having another moment like this was 2015 when the Blue Jays were making their run. It came to the point where doubt started to creep in as the Raptors kept coming up short, and the Toronto Maple Leafs struggling to get out of the first round.

To be fair, the Blue Jays in 2015 were good enough to win the World Series. Alex Anthopoulos made the big move like Masai Ujiri did with Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors could have suffered a similar ending.

Sometimes though, all the stars align and when a team works for it and lays it all on the line they get rewarded. The Golden State Warriors were willing to sacrifice a lot to repeat as champions; Kevin Durant will miss the year with a ruptured Achillies and it looks like Klay Thompson is heading that way with a reported torn ACL. 

What makes this win a unique moment for this country is how there was little to no divide among fans. It helps that this is the only NBA team north of the border but you can tell Canadians are appreciative of having one team that they can cheer for together.

Ujiri has been the voice behind this movement for the Raptors where he embraced the Raptors being the only team outside of the U.S. and not believing in those who think this is an irrelevant market. His leadership has been an underrated part of this run and despite recent rumours about interest from the Washington Wizards, he probably wants to keep it going as long as possible.

Many fans have probably felt disrespected by the way media south of the border have talked about the Raptors or for lack of coverage at times. Hopefully winning a title provides some legitimacy to what this team can be as an NBA market.

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Right now this is a moment everyone should enjoy for as long as they can. It took 24 years to get here and maybe it can continue so that the party doesn’t become short lived.