Canadians across the country have been in Raptors-mode for the past few weeks, as the Toronto team are closing in to make NBA history at the end of this week. As our one and only Canadian team, they are representing our whole country but Toronto Raptors Canadian players are very few and far between.
Nonetheless, fans all over the country are preparing for Game 6 on Thursday night, where the Toronto Raptors will take on the Golden State Warriors once again, in the hope of securing a victory that would crown them NBA Champions for the first time in history.
Beyond that, this NBA season has undoubtedly been a special one for long-time Raptors fans, as well as newbies to the sport. The team’s recent success has brought the country together, as Canadians from Toronto and much further beyond have rallied around the Raptors together, to enjoy and celebrate the Canadian basketball team in these potentially-historic games.
What's ironic is that the Toronto Raptors have never made the NBA finals before, despite the game being invented by a Canadian. In fact, despite the sport becoming a bit of a sensation in Canada recently, there are only 13 Canadians in total who were on the starting rosters for any NBA teams in the 2018-2019 season.
For the Raptors this season, of course, there is Chris Boucher who grew up in Montreal, and is a shining example of a successful Canadian basketball career. However, As Canada continues to bask in Raptors-pride, The Toronto Sun took to the streets of Toronto to ask basketball fans, “Should the Raptors bring in more Canadian-bred talent?” and their response was clear.
Speaking to the Toronto Sun reporter, one fan said “I’ve been a Raptors fan since day one...we’ve only really had a few Canadian talents on our team ever…Cory Joseph for one, obviously Chris Boucher at the moment. I would love to see more Canadians in the NBA as a whole, but as a Raptors fan, whatever gets us the win I’m happy with that!”
Another fan said that you don't have to be from Canada to represent Canada, "they [the Raptors] truly do represent Canada, they brought this country together!”
Asking their online users for an opinion, the Toronto Sun tweeted "WE THE NORTH: Should the Raptors have at least some Canadian-bred talent on their team?" Again, the response was pretty obvious.
Most responses to the post were clear: Raptors fans just want whoever is best for the job on their team, regardless of their nationality. One Twitter user even joked that they don't want Canadian players on the team because they do actually want to win.
From the responses given, it seems pretty clear that Canadian Raptors fans don't particularly care about where their team comes from or what their nationality is, as long as the Raptors continue to play awesome basketball!
While it is a small shame that there is not more Canadians playing in the NBA, the recent phenomenal performance of the Raptors will likely change that. As millions of Canadians have tuned in to the NBA Finals this season, a significant proportion of them could be young Canadians with an interest in basketball, ready to be the next Kawhi Leonard or Kyle Lowry.
Regardless of where this season's players are from, with the recent run that the Raptors have had, they are all considered honorary Canadians anyway!