In 1995 the Toronto Raptors solidified our city’s love affair with basketball, bringing a NBA franchise to the city. Over the next two decades, while The Leafs struggled, it became more and more common for Toronto sports fans to cite ‘The Raps’ as their most beloved Toronto franchise. It’s hard to believe we’ve had pro ball for 21 years in this city, but in that time, we’ve seen some of the best moments the game has to offer.
Here are the 7 best basketball moments in the city of Toronto. Let us know your favourite in the comments below.
#7 – Choosing Stoudamire in 1995 Draft
For those who remember the start, there is only one superstar…Mighty Mouse. At 5’10 Damon Stoudamire was one of the best point guards to play the game in the mid-to-late nineties. He could do everything and was all world clutch. The city’s first basketball star, he immediately gave Raps fans a reason to cheer loud.
#6 – Drake and his Lint-Roller
We aren’t sure what exactly to say about this but it did spark the OVO/Raptors custom lint roller giveaway and then things also got a little crazy on eBay.
#5 – Raptors beating Michael Jordan and the unstoppable 95/96 Bulls
This is the year the Bulls incredibly won 72 out of 80 games. With such a powerhouse playing against a first year team, it seemed like a forgone conclusion but an inspired team lead by rookie Damon Stoudamire (who had 30 points) had a different idea.
#4 – Carter’s half-century Vs. 76ers in 2001 Playoffs
After Allen Iverson ran some serious game on Raptors in their second-round playoff tilt in 2001. Vince Carter had an answer for ‘The Answer’ though, and responded with 50 points of his own at home to take 2-1 series lead. The result was the only playoff series win for the franchise beating the Sixers in 2000-2001.
#3 – We The North
During and leading up the 2014 NBA Playoffs, the Toronto Raptors became simply The Raptors – Canada’s team. Making the playoffs and taking it all the way to Game 7 (losing heartbreakingly), The Raps captured the hearts of every Sports fan in Canada and many outside of our borders.
— Twitter Canada (@TwitterCanada) April 28, 2014
#2 – Vince Carter winning the NBA Slam Dunk contest
Let’s face it, this put Toronto on the basketball map and showed the world that Vince Carter was not like other basketball playing humans. His performance in the 2000 Dunk Contest will never be matched.
#1 – Raptors Advance to 2016 Eastern Conference Finals for the First Time
After many questions over whether Toronto’s top players had what it takes to get to the next level, Raps’ Kyle Lowry stepped up with one of the most clutch performance in franchise history with 35 points in a 116-89 route over the Miami Heat in Game 7 of the 2016 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. DeMar DeRozan also stepped up with 28 points.