Toronto Raptors: Remembering “The Shot” from Kawhi Leonard

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

On the one year anniversary of “The Shot” we look back at how Kawhi Leonard’s buzzer-beater remains a defining moment for the Toronto Raptors.

For some Toronto Raptors fans, it feels like yesterday that the sports world waited in anticipation as Kawhi Leonard‘s shot took four dramatic bounces before Scotiabank Arena erupted.

Others will tell you considering everything that has happened since the Game 7 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, Leonard’s buzzer-beater feels like ages ago. Not only did Toronto go on to win their first NBA title after “The Shot” but they also saw Leonard bolt to the Los Angeles Clippers, leaving the franchise with a lot of uncertainty going into the 2019-20 season.

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The Raptors have proven they are still a formidable team even without Leonard, but seeing that shot and the performance he had in the post-season should serve as a reminder of what he would add to this group. In fairness to Toronto, they tried their best to get Leonard to stay but it was clear with all the reports leading up to his departure that his mind was already made up.

While it’s certainly disappointing to not have Leonard around, at least the team got everything they could have asked of him. Even “The Shot” alone has given the Raptors an iconic moment that will live on like many in Toronto sports history.

You can definitely say that it ranks up there with Joe Carter‘s home run to win the 1993 World Series, the Jose Bautista bat flip from 2015 and even Doug Gilmour‘s overtime winner St. Louis Blues. Of course, you could say that Leonard’s should rank at or above Bautista’s home run because it would lead to a championship, although both had the same dramatic pop.

Sportsnet put together a story talking with the seven photographers who captured the buzzer-beater and it’s interesting to find out the different perspectives and the approach each one took to take their photo.

You just have to imagine what could have been if that shot didn’t go in considering the Raptors were in a tough battle against the Sixers in that game. Instead, we got this moment to remember and a title that helped put the franchise in a prestigious spot and will hopefully have its benefits extend for years to come.

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What are your memories from the “The Shot” on the one year anniversary? Where does this moment rank on the all-time iconic moments in Toronto sports? Let us know in the comments below.