The squeak of their running shoes on the floor of the basketball court takes me back to high school.

That sound still rings in my ears from many days hanging around the gym watching basketball games.

But now, it’s the Toronto Raptors squeaking all over the court.

And history was made this week, as they won their first ever NBA Championship in their 25 year history.


Canada’s only basketball team galvanized the entire country.

I doubt the Toronto Maple Leafs could have done that if they had won the Stanley Cup.

Because basketball is an everyman’s sport.

No expensive equipment or arena rentals required.

Anyone who wants to pick up a basketball and take a shot at a net, a game that was invented in Canada, by the way, can do so.

And do so, these Toronto Raptors did.

It was a heck of a thing to watch.

Indeed, dozens of “watching parties” were officially organized right across the country for the final games, with arenas opening their doors and putting up their big screens so people who didn’t have the luxury of being courtside could catch the excitement.

To watch this rag tag team of superstars as they put all their differences aside and came together for the one great cause of winning Canada’s first ever NBA title was incredible.

Some of them hand picked and assembled by Raptors president Masai Ujiri over the past few months alone, as he bravely jettisoned best friends and traded fan favourites, all in the name of the NBA title.

And all under the gentle but firm and determined guiding hand of rookie coach Nick Nurse, who managed to inspire all of them to somehow gel and focus on playing an incredible game of basketball, together, as a team.

Elite athletes who are so good at what they do, they are making multi-millions of dollars at a very young age.

To watch Kahwi Leonard, for example, go for the jugular and fiercely own that net, was a spectacle to behold.

He has become something of a household name in Canada, since becoming part of the Raptors family.

Much like his counterpart Pascal Siakam, a.k.a. “Spicy P”.

And Marc Gasol.

Kawhi has even gone so far to win an MVP award for his talents, leadership and courage.

His sombre, humble and modest demeanor reminds me of Sidney Crosby.

He could almost be a Canadian.

At 6 feet 7 inches tall, he certainly stands out in a crowd.

He seems to be unphased by all the money and stardom that being a basketball superstar has brought.

He apparently drove a 20-year old car that he had in high school long after he was making the big bucks in professional basketball, saying simply, “it runs and it’s paid for”.

And speculation goes on for hours on news and sports talk shows as to whether he will stick around Toronto for another season or go back to sunnier climes when he becomes a free agent later this month on his birthday no less.

But all that aside, this tumultous series when the Golden State Warriors faced off against the Toronto Raptors will go down in the history books as one of the most exciting sporting events ever.

I am not really a sports fan, but I found myself watching intently as this piece of history unfolded.

Not to mention this week also hailed a first ever victory in hockey, as the St. Louis Blues won their first ever Stanley Cup against the Boston Bruins.

These types of great sporting events bring together every single person, no matter their age or what they do for a living.

From 90 year olds down to 9 year olds, anyone can chime in and have an opinion and does so with ferver.

It is a wonderful unifier.

Ignoring the sore losers out there, these history making sporting events are a great avenue for peace and harmony and yes – teammanship.


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