It always seems like when it comes to birthdays, old pictures make a comeback. That was the case for Marc Gasol a few months ago. Big Spain celebrated his 35th birthday on January 29, 2020, and his old college pictures were being shared on social media. In a total blast from the past, Gasol is barely recognizable, and it got us in the mood to dig out some more Toronto Raptors throwback photos.
With a full head of hair and a youthful glow, Gasol's old-school snaps show just how far he's come, from playing with the Spanish basketball team to working his way through the NBA and into the Raptors.
In honour of his birthday and his glow-up over the years, we couldn't help but wonder how the ageing process has gone for other core members of the franchise.
Six-time All-Star Kyle Lowry's Villanova college ball days, a pre-Spicy Pascal Siakam, and Baby Stormin' Norman Powell; the guys have changed a lot over the years.
Hey, we've even thrown in some bonus Nick Nurse throwbacks.
So, here's a list of classic old-school pictures of current Raptors stars and it truly proves how much they've all grown. Be warned: you may never see your favourite player the same way again.
At Lausanne Collegiate School in Memphis (high school) Marc Gasol (#Grizzlies) was nicknamed "the Big Burrito". http://t.co/Ni2IxOsQzw— History of Sports (@History of Sports)1431396804.0
It was 2001 when Gasol packed his bags from Barcelona and moved all the way to Memphis, Tennessee. There, he starred for Lausanne Collegiate, winning a state title.
After crafting his game back in Spain, he was acquired by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2008 and spent a decade there before moving to Toronto last season. Here he is in two very different phases of facial hair, back when he was apparently known as "the Big Burrito." Amazing.
Siakam's come-up story is remarkable. Although he didn't want to pursue a career in 'ball, he changed his mind after taking part in a Basketball Without Borders camp for kids in South Africa, according to The Globe and Mail. This is where he met current teammate Serge Ibaka. Put a photo of the two of them together on the Raptors Hall of Fame!
From landing a scholarship to play at high school in Lewisville, Texas to New Mexico State University and now the Toronto Raptors, Siakam was able to prove he had what it takes to become an NBA star. And now an All-Star.
We already know Fred Jr. is as cute as anything, and here are some photos of his dad looking fresh back in the day. According to Bleacher Report, from a young age, FVV Sr. would start bright and early to practice and play a little one-on-one at his local YMCA.
He went on to play four seasons with Wichita State, for whom he still holds the career records for games played (joint), assists, and steals. Somehow not selected in the 2016 NBA Draft, he ultimately moved to Toronto later that year. These days, that decision not to draft the NBA champion seems incredible.
KLow's been a leading Raptor for so long, it can be easy to forget there's a time when he wasn't a relative vet on the team.
The six-time All-Star excelled while playing for Villanova in his home state of Pennsylvania. So much, in fact, that the school is retiring his number in February. Blessed with a boyish face anyway, young Kyle looks uncannily similar to present-day Kyle. Unlike his former Memphis Grizzlies pal Gasol's dramatic change.
When it comes to Ibaka, basketball appears to have played a major part in his life from a young age. At least, if this most adorable of toddler photos is anything to go by.
Before Norman was Stormin', it seems he was a hella cute baby. He was later reportedly introduced to basketball by his uncle and helped rebuild Lincoln High School's team before signing on for UCLA.
The Cali native, who has spent his entire NBA career to date in Toronto, is increasingly emerging as an important cog in the Raptors machine, no matter what Nick Nurse might say. Seemingly as humble as many of his teammates, Norm said this week he would give up his No. 24 jersey if the NBA wants to retire the number in honour of the late Kobe Bryant.
Talking of Nick Nurse, have some good old Saint Nick throwbacks on us. The coach isn't afraid to share some old-school pics on his Instagram and, if we may say so ourselves, they're fantastic.
Nurse only ever played college ball himself, featuring for the University of Northern Iowa for four years between 1985 and 1989 before turning to coaching. As the first head coach to bring an NBA title to Canada and a possible soon-to-be All-Star bench boss, he's come a long way from these slightly dorky snaps.