When the Toronto Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors to capture the NBA title earlier this month, it was more than just about winning the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.
The journey for the Toronto Raptors en route to winning the 2019 NBA Championship brought together a nation, as basketball fans across Canada celebrated the big win.
Toronto Raptors Inspire a Nation By Winning NBA Title
Canadians from Coast to Coast Unify to Celebrate Historic Run
It’s interesting to note that basketball was actually invented by a Canadian, James Naismith, way back in 1891.
So it was fitting that proud Canadian basketball fans from Vancouver to Halifax, and everywhere in between, held viewing parties during the Raptors’ historic run to the NBA title.
In fact, Montreal – a traditional rival city of Toronto based on the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens hockey rivalry – closed down a couple of blocks in the city so basketball fans could cheer on the Raptors.
Raptors Championship Run was Great for Business
Not only did the success of the Raptors bring higher morale to Canadian sports fans, but it also served to boost the economies in cities across Canada. Sports bars in Toronto and across the country enjoyed higher revenues because of the strong interest in the Raptors.
There were even reports of Toronto Raptors fans flying into Canada from other countries to be part of the buzz and excitement, which serves to boost travel and tourism.
Toronto Hosts Epic NBA Championship Parade
Prior to the recent NBA title, the last time a Canadian team had won a title in the big four major professional sports – which includes the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL – was back in 1993. That was the year when the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup and the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series.
Given the long wait, there’s plenty of reason to celebrate. And on Monday, the city of Toronto celebrated in style. There are estimates that over one million people hit the streets of downtown Toronto for the Raptors’ NBA Championship parade.
Great Turnout at Championship Parade
All the Raptors players, coaches, and front office staff were present along with their global ambassador and hip hop superstar, Drake. Also on hand was Toronto’s Mayor John Tory, the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, and Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.
Trudeau spoke proudly about what it took for the Raptors’ to become NBA Champions.
“Winning was done with sportsmanship, with elegance, with compassion and mostly with incredible hard work,” said the Canadian Prime Minister. “What we saw here [during the Championship run] was the country coming together.”
Meanwhile, Toronto’s Mayor declared the day “We The North Day.”
“Thank you for inspiring us, thank you for making us proud, thank you for bringing us together like never before,” said Tory to the Toronto Raptors on behalf of those in attendance.
Tory would also go on to present NBA Final’s MVP Kawhi Leonard with a key to the city.
“This city and this country love you and we look forward to having you and the whole team back here next year to do this again,” said the Toronto Mayor to Leonard.
Marred By Violence
Toronto Police reports three people were arrested in connection with a shooting at Nathan Phillips Square which injured four people. Many ran for cover in a frenzy after the shots were fired.
Additionally, a stabbing nearby left three people injured.
Last Word on the Raptors 2019 NBA Title
Despite the violence, there were many positives from the Raptors Championship parade.
Drake reminds of those positives as he does his best to bring fans together.
“I want you to turn to someone that you don’t know and I want you to give them a hug and I want you to tell them ‘congratulations,'” says the Toronto rapper to the massive crowd. “Because we are the NBA 2019 Champions of the world!”