It felt like the entire city of Toronto was at a standstill on Monday. Millions came out to celebrate the Raptors at the victory parade, a spectacle that hasn’t been seen in the 6ix since the Blue Jays won it all back in 1993, and maybe not even then. At front and centre was Kawhi Leonard, who seemed happier than Toronto's ever seen him before. Which brings us to the question - will Kawhi stay? After yesterday's festivities, many fans are convinced that they already know the answer.
During the parade, clips of a cheerful-looking Kawhi started popping up all over social media. The Raptors star, who showed little emotion all season, could hardly stop smiling. Kawhi was clearly having a blast yesterday - so much so, that fans are now totally convinced that he’ll stick around for at least one more year.
Kawhi was celebrated by fans chanting "MVP" all along the parade route:
MVP MVP MVP https://t.co/5qsTvc27w0— Toronto Raptors (@Toronto Raptors)1560790283.0
Kyle Lowry got everyone chanting "five more years" for Kawhi. Even Kawhi’s Uncle Dennis, who is also his agent, joined in. Which, to most people, seems like proof that the player has already decided to stay.
Kyle Lowry has the crowd chanting “Five more years” for Kawhi. 🤣 (via @YahooCASports) https://t.co/3Uk3oWbrhI— SLAM (@SLAM)1560793166.0
@SLAMonline @YahooCASports Yea you can tell he’s staying lmao— ᴘᴀᴄᴇ 2ᴋ (@ᴘᴀᴄᴇ 2ᴋ)1560793235.0
Kyle Lowry and Kawhi's agent Uncle Dennis chanting "5 more years with the crowd." He stay. https://t.co/KWOKt6pTAx— Raptors Nation™ (@Raptors Nation™)1560791786.0
HE STAY #KAWHI— Stefano Giacomelli (@Stefano Giacomelli)1560860878.0
Fans are so convinced that Kawhi will stay that they even created a hilarious new website dedicated to the cause:
Also, Kawhi finally accepted that housewarming plant from "Plant Guy". Which, according to fans, is basically just as good as the contract itself at this point.
Plant Guy gives Kawhi his housewarming gift at last. #WeTheNorth #RaptorsParade https://t.co/BRAVEtYJlL— yung & wild & vaccinated (@yung & wild & vaccinated)1560796671.0
"It's a housewarming gift for Kawhi" "HE STAY!" "It's for Kawhi. Have you seen him?" "It's a Kawactus" "WE THE FORE… https://t.co/iOezuUHM21— St_Hill (@St_Hill)1560505377.0
@tomasbolt58 @RaptorsGirls This is literally as good as a contract— its gonna be ok (@its gonna be ok)1560798588.0
@RaptorsGirls @WeTheNorth__ This is awesome #5moreyears— Matthew Fitzgerald (@Matthew Fitzgerald)1560797542.0
Kawhi also gave Toronto some pretty big props during an impromptu interview. Kawhi claimed that he knew that the Raptors had what it took to be champions, since day one of training camp:
"Thank you Canada for the support. We did it!" Kawhi is living it up as he celebrates the @Raptors' title! https://t.co/ME1PB4Bfyx— NBA TV (@NBA TV)1560787588.0
Perhaps the best moment of the day was when Mayor John Tory presented Kawhi and the Raptors with the key to the city:
Kawhi and the @Raptors receive the key to the city of Toronto! 🔑🇨🇦 https://t.co/O531C52ZrS— NBA TV (@NBA TV)1560801078.0
But I think most fans would argue that it was when Kawhi ended his speech with his famously awkward laugh and everyone went wild. Fun guy, indeed!
"Enjoy this moment and have fun with it," Kawhi Leonard ends his speech with a nod to his famous laugh. "A-ha-ha-… https://t.co/m9XF2mFjRq— CBC Toronto (@CBC Toronto)1560804892.0
Aha, aha, aha. Last laugh. Goodnight sweet world. #WeTheNorth https://t.co/BQBiy1M33Z— Toronto Raptors (@Toronto Raptors)1560823703.0
@CBCToronto 4 ha s mean he stays for four years— Kamran Abdullah (@Kamran Abdullah)1560811101.0
@CBCToronto The other players were waiting for him to do that 😂😂😂 they knew it was coming!— T A Y L U R 💬 (@T A Y L U R 💬)1560806911.0
@Raptors @kawhileonard @npowell2404 @sergeibaka @FredVanVleet @DGreen_14 @pskills43 @MarcGasol @JLin7 this literall… https://t.co/yDMcsztjPF— ashley (@ashley)1560823759.0
@Raptors @kawhileonard @npowell2404 @sergeibaka @FredVanVleet @DGreen_14 @pskills43 @MarcGasol @JLin7 You guys know… https://t.co/WUWe5eJCWA— Yanick Houle (@Yanick Houle)1560824948.0
@Raptors @kawhileonard @npowell2404 @sergeibaka @FredVanVleet @DGreen_14 @pskills43 @MarcGasol @JLin7 He's staying— Tre Mckay (@Tre Mckay)1560825561.0
Everything remains up in the air for Kawhi, who is now just two weeks away from becoming a free agent, when he will have to make his final decision about his plans for next season. It's safe to say that the city has done everything possible to convince him to stick around at this point, but only time will tell if all that love was enough.