#WeStillTheNorth

Dedication.

One word that sums up the entire season for the Toronto Raptors. Dedication. Back in October, we were all witnesses of the improvement shown by the underdogs after a 97-89 win over the Boston Celtics. The coaching staff, team members, fans, and training facilities were all committed to proving the doubters wrong – and they did. What an incredible 2013/14 season it was.

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Despite the heartbreaking 104-103 loss against the Brooklyn Nets – the Raptors put in every bit of effort they could the entire series (4-3). With 6.3 seconds left in the 4th quarter and the game in Kyle Lowry’s hands, all of Toronto was silent but hopeful. However, with that missed shot and no calls, the ball was in the right hands at the right time. Lowry’s dedication and fight throughout the season was endless. These men, over a course of eight months have grown to become a team – and to work together in order to get results.

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After many changes throughout the season – significantly the Rudy Gay trade, the team was able to build on what they had and make the most of it. Eventually, the Raptors found what they were comfortable with and went from there; ending their regular season 48-34. An outstanding franchise record alongside several other broken records and accomplishments – including the Raptors participation in the NBA all star game.

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The devastating loss in the first round of the playoffs that ended the Raptors season ultimately ended the doubt many fans held. The Toronto Raptors are a strong team. And there’s no doubt about it. Game in and game out, the fight never ends.

See you back in October boys!

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Slow and Steady Wins a Ring?

Yes, I know what I said; the Raptors will be phenomenal this year. As did many of you fans. But don’t lose those hopes just yet, it’s only been a month into the season and we’re still waiting for the team we saw during pre-season, but rest assure, they will come soon. With any team, be it Chicago, Miami and now the Lakers, with great players comes great responsibility. No, I’m kidding, with great players comes time and effort to learn how to play the right kind of basketball with the right guys. See where I’m headed? Half the roaster in Toronto this year are new guys! There’s no way you can throw a bunch of tall guys onto a court and expect them to win a championship. Unless of course this is Space Jam, then yes you can. So please, give our boys some time to adjust and just be the friendly Toronto people that I know you are and just cheer on. And soon enough, we will be winning.

Okay so, Mister Bargnani; I have to start with him only because he is basically Toronto’s face [no arguing, please.] He’s off to a slow start, but then again anyone in his position would be just as confused as he is. Especially with the new Euro boy, Jonas V stealing the spot light. Not saying that’s a bad thing, but Bargnani is having a hard time finding his place on the team. Don’t worry just yet, they’ll all find their roles.

The new guys in red, lets talk. Was I the only one who was overly thrilled to get Landry, Lowry, Ross, Acy, JV and all the new Raptors in Toronto? I highly doubt it. I’m keeping my high hopes and expectations for these boys, because from what I’ve seen so far, they’ve really been putting in their best to help the Raps go far. [And by far I mean, win more than 20 games.] Really though, the new guys have had some good moments in the NBA with the team so far; Lowry before his injury, Ross with those threes, Landry Fields, I’m still waiting for his moment. And, JV, well, he’s just JV. Everyone loves him. Jonas is definitely living up to what we’ve been anticipating since the 2011 NBA Draft. [New Toronto heartthrob?]

Back to our golden Toronto Faces. No more hating on Jose Calderon. [This needs to stop.] I can go on and on about how furious I was about “fans” telling Jose he can’t ball. Clearly, he can; he’s in the NBA. He may not be the starting point guard, but he’s done a whole lot for the team since 2005. [Show some respect for the man.] Now that that’s been cleared up, let’s move on to DeMar DeRozan. DeMar agreed to a four-year contract earlier, which means Toronto’s love story with him isn’t coming to an end anytime soon, thank god. As always, he’s playing his heart out on the court every game. Finally, our favourite NBA friend, Amir Johnson, what could he be doing wrong? Nothing. This guy doesn’t always shoot threes, but when he does it’s always at the right time and he just happens to be in the right place. “I think Jose’s probably the only one who would actually pass it to me on the three-point line, so kudos to him!” [Kudos to all my boys working hard to make us happy!]

So, if you haven’t caught on to what I’ve been trying to say, let me sum it up for you; Give the Raptors time. That’s all they need. 

 

 

New Guy in Toronto: Jonas Valanciunas

I don’t even know where to start off with this guy. How about the 2011 NBA Draft? Let’s be honest when David Stern called up the 5th pick, no one knew who Jonas Valanciunas was. [Unless of course you keep up with the Euro league] So, anyone guilty of Google-ing Jonas V on Draft day? I admit, I’m guilty. But once I did my research on the Lithuanian center, I instantly fell in love. Not only because of his good looks but because of his skill and “fighter” approach. After a few more hours of researching and youtube-ing, I finally approved that this 20 year old is a perfect fit for the developing Toronto Raptors. He just has that perfect style of game to help the Raptors improve. He kind of reminds me of Andrea Bargnani, actually a lot. Bargnani has done a lot for the team, so no doubt that JV will do the same.

Although Mister Valanciunas made us wait a year before he decided to join the big league, he has really proved to all Toronto fans, and basically everyone else that he is ready for the NBA. During that time, and the off-season, Valanciunas was a named FIBA European Young Player of the Year and MVP in the VTB United League in February 2012. He won MVP again in the LKL All-Star game and also won the Eurocup Rising Star award in the All-Eurocup squad. And, he participated in the 2012 Olympics. [I know you’re all getting hyped to get him in Toronto already]

This young guy has the ability to help the Raptors and make the team stronger. I know I for one am more than thrilled to have October come faster so I can finally see Jonas in a Raptors jersey. If you’re late hopping the JV bandwagon, please do you’re research before he comes!

Basketball is like a “second religion” in Lithuania.

Amir Johnson: Passion for the Fans

Amir Johnson: Passion for the Fans

By Aish Abid

If there’s one man in the league that cheers as hard for the fans as the fans do for the boys, it’s Toronto Raptors, Amir Johnson. Johnson was the 56th pick in the 2005 NBA draft and was selected by the Detroit Pistons. Since then, his career has led him to here, the beloved city of Toronto. Johnson began playing for the Toronto Raptors in 2009. In the three season he has been in Toronto, he has done nothing but good things for the remarkable Raptor fans. When an opportunity comes knocking for fan interactions, Amir Johnson is right there, front of the line. This season, Johnson has done outstanding things in order to give back to the fans of Toronto.On March 31, 2012, Johnson participated in the All Access at Real Sports; an opportunity to interact with fans and answer their questions.”I love my Twitter fans, I recognize some of them here today. Everyone on Twitter, I love.” Johnson answered when asked who his favourite person on twitter was. As the Toronto Raptors season came close to an end, Johnson wanted to do something that shows his love for Toronto and the fans. He held his second annual “I Roll with Amir” contest; where he treats the 25 biggest fans each along with a guest to a Raptors game and dinner. Once again, the event was a success. The fans attended the Raptors v. Hawks game on April 16, 2012 followed by dinner at ‘E11even’. Even with the season finished, Johnson could not get enough of the fans. He celebrated Cold Stone Creamery’s one year anniversary with the fans in Toronto, where he designed his very own Cold Stone Creation with proceeds benefitting the Remix Project. “This is my way of giving back to the community, doing certain things around the neighbourhood. The Remix Project was the one I found and I definitely like it, so I did something to give back.” Johnson said when asked about giving back to his fans. This year, Johnson was able to raise 2000 dollars for the Remix Project. By the passion and love he shows for the fans year in and year out, there is no doubt that Amir Johnson will continue to take part in opportunities to give back to his biggest fans. Toronto wishes Johnson the best of luck for the bright future of his team and hopes he continues to work his best. Happy Birthday Amir Johnson!

Interview with Amir Johnson on Giving Back. http://pptv.ca/videos/movernie-and-amir-johnson-giving-back-to-toronto