Toronto kicks off massive celebration honoring Raptors’ first-ever NBA title
This is not a drill: Canada is about to celebrate its first-ever NBA Championship title, and things will get crazy.
Toronto Raptors player Danny Green says he’s expecting the fans to be “out of their minds” Monday, when the basketball team and all their fans parade through downtown Toronto, and then party it out during a fan rally at Nathan Phillips Square.
On Thursday, the team beat the Golden State Warriors 114-110 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals to win the series. The victory punctuated a season of firsts for the NBA’s only Canadian team. It was also the first time the Raptors reached the NBA Finals in its 24-season history.
There will be big screens, open-air double decker buses for the players, and surely, thousands of crazed fans. And who can blame them? They’ve been waiting on their team to snatch the title for forever, literally.
What will it all look like? Probably something like this:
And that’s not all.
June 17 will from now on be celebrated as “We The North Day,” per Toronto Mayor John Tory.
“Winning the NBA championship is the perfect ending to a historic season and is a result of the professionalism and hard work exhibited by the players, coaching and training staff and the ownership of the Toronto Raptors,” Tory said in a statement.
“This victory is also for the passionate Toronto Raptors fans, who are the best in the league and filled Jurassic Parks in Toronto and across the country. This championship is the culmination of years of patience, support, devotion and beliefs. Toronto has proven that it is a basketball city and that the game thrives in The North.”
But the Raptors don’t just have a city behind them, they have a whole country.
Journalist Mike Bossetti — who has covered the Raptors for past four seasons — says the lack of any other Canadian NBA franchise has helped people rally behind one common goal.
“It’s truly been remarkable to see the entire nation of Canada rally behind just one team. Over 50% of Canada has tuned in to at least one portion of the NBA Finals.”
CNN’s Ben Morse contributed to this report.