It has been a disappointing weekend for Canadian basketball. After the soaring highs of the 2018/2019 NBA season, the Toronto Raptors took a pretty hard blow on Saturday as MVP Kawhi Leonard, and fan-favourite Danny Green, both announced they would be leaving to head to California for next season.
The news that Kawhi Leonard would be leaving the Raptors was revealed at around 2:30 AM on Saturday morning. Reports confirmed Leonard would be signing a new deal with the LA Clippers, and for many Canadians around the country, just like that, the dream of another Kawhi-led, championship-winning season died. If this was not bad enough, only minutes later, Danny Green also announced he would be heading to Los Angeles, but to play for the Lakers.
Despite the heartbreak, Canadians put on a brave face and sent thousands of messages of love, thanks and well-wishes to the stars on social media. On Twitter, ThankYouKawhi and ThankYouDanny were trending across Canada across the weekend, as fans came together to send the boys on their way with nothing but love.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Justin Trudeau. As the Prime Minister took to Twitter on Saturday afternoon to thank the boys for their efforts for the Toronto Raptors, and to wish them well in their future endeavors, many Canadians took the opportunity to remind Trudeau that they thought it was him who should be leaving Canada. Ouch!
In the tweet, Trudeau said, “Sad to see you go, [Kawhi Leonard] & [Danny Green]! Thank you for helping the Raptors bring home our first NBA championship. The whole team inspired a new generation of Canadian basketball fans and talent.”
Despite simply mirroring the sentiment that was shared by many Canadians, Trudeau’s message was met with criticism from several people, who were not afraid to tell Trudeau they would not be sad to see him go in October, referring to the upcoming federal election later this year.
One user wrote, “You’ll be going soon too [Justin Trudeau] .....That will be a great day for Canada!!!”
While the tweet had 1,151 retweets and 9,400 likes at the time of writing, the overwhelming response to Trudeau’s well-wishes was pretty negative. Among the tweets telling Trudeau he would be the next to leave, a number of Twitter users criticised Trudeau for focusing on basketball rather than ‘real issues.’
One Twitter user said, “Good, so now we can start talking about the issues that are actually important to Canada and not this bullshit!”
It would have been unusual if the Prime Minister had not made a public statement about both Kawhi and Danny leaving the Raptors, as he has made a point of publically supporting the Raptors throughout their 2018/2019 winning season. Throughout the championship, Trudeau shared photos on social media of his family enjoying the games, and made sure to regularly tweet his support to the boys. He even attended the Raptors victory parade.
Despite the considerable criticism from Twitter users, it is likely Trudeau will continue his Raptors-commentary into next season and will continue to support the team via all of his social media channels.