Toronto Raptors bring home NBA championship in six for The Six
By Andi Endruhn, Publishing Editor
Dawn emerges, the sun rises and so does a new day for Canadian sports.
The Toronto Raptors are NBA champions. Yes, you read that right.
In game six, in the final game to be played in Oakland’s Oracle stadium, before the Golden State Warriors are moved to San Francisco for the 2019-2020 season, the Raptors beat the two-time previous champions at home, in a game that ran right up until the end.
The final 10 seconds seemed interminable. The Raptors, and the Golden State Warriors had spent the entirety of the game passing the lead back and forth, tying and vying for every point possible. Entering the final seconds of the game the Raptors found themselves ahead by one point, at an 111-110 score.
There were many points when, for the more cynical it seemed we could’ve been seeing a game seven. Danny Green of the Raptors turnover, allowed the Warriors Stephen Curry to set up for three-pointer, which teetered off the rim and created mayhem midcourt. The Warriors regained possession of the ball before calling a timeout. Except the Warriors didn’t have any timeouts left.
The resulting technical foul had the Raptors’ Kawahi Leonard convert on the free throw, and bringing the game to its final second, but it wasn’t ready to end just yet. Leonard, was immediately fouled on the Raptors in bound play, and a lengthy review process reviewed. In a fast moving game that seemed to have stretched forever, finally, Leonard was given two more free throws that would cement Toronto’s lead. Leonard converted on both free throws, finally, finally clinching the game 114-110 Raptors, and bringing the championship north.
For many, the Raptors win means the end to almost a quarter-century of waiting. Marking the first NBA championship for the team, since its inception in 1995, its also the first win Canada has had in one of the top four North American leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL) since 1993 when the Toronto Bluejays won the World Series, and the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup. But back then, Canada had the Montreal Expos to love as well, and we have always had other Canadian hockey teams.
The Raptors are the only vestige of Canada’s long history, and love of basketball, making this historic win all the more important.
Basketball, was first invented by James Naismith, an Ontario physical educator and physician, in a YMCA in Springfield Massachusetts. Under the guidelines of creating a game that would wear out it’s participants, not take up too much space, and not be too rowdy, Naismith hung peach baskets 10 feet high from the gymnasium floor, and basketball was born.
Naismith’s game turned into the NBA in 1946, when two leagues, the Basketball Association of America, and the National Basketball League merged. Although the Raptors were only created in 1995, Toronto was still involved in the new NBA. The first game was played by the New York Knickerbockers, and the Toronto Huskies. And it was played at Maple Leaf Gardens, in Toronto.
So maybe it’s not new, it’s just coming home for the first time in a long time, back north.