“When you see where we started and where we are today. It’s day and night. The Raptors have had a lot of success over the last few years, they’ve been NBA champions, they’ve got a lot of talent that’s come through, it’s exciting for this franchise. When I see her today, I’m like a proud parent to see how everything has matured and how it has moved forward. Toronto is attractive right now, everyone wants to be in it. It has become a great sporting city”.
The statement is signed Marcus Camby, who arrived in the NBA in 1996 when the Raptors were still taking their first steps in the league. More than 25 years later, the latter was invited as a league ambassador to attend the first pre-season game of his former Toronto franchise. It will face Utah at Rogers Place in Edmonton, capital of the Canadian province of Alberta.
What a long way
The preparation for the 2022/23 season has been placed under the sign of the promotion of basketball in Canada. The Raptors will thus cross the country from West to East. The “training camp” began in Victoria, the team will then stop in Edmonton before making a brief stop at home, at the Scotiabank Arena, to finish on the Montreal side for the last preseason game against the Celtics on October 14. .
It will also be a way to realize their popularity which has evolved since the time of Marcus Camby.
“The whole country was hockey-oriented, so when we played our games, it was very calm, and the fans even used to support the opposing team more than the home team, because they saw the teams they had watched on TV all those years,” slipped the old pivot.
As Nick Nurse realized during the 2019 title, the situation has changed for the Raptors, especially since with the departure of the Vancouver Grizzlies, they are the only Canadian team in the NBA.
“It’s a great thing, what the franchise has decided to do. To move around the country, and we are well rewarded with all the support. It’s something special to have a whole country behind you, as you all know. And it’s nice to see him in person again, for real.”
The specter of the Vancouver Grizzlies…
If Vancouver is not part of the Raptors’ “tour”, the subject of the possible expansion of the league towards a second Canadian franchise, as was the case between 1995 and 2001, has returned to the table because Victoria, where where the team was until yesterday, and Vancouver is only 130 kilometers away.
“I wasn’t really into it when Vancouver was in the NBA the first time around. But I think with the growth of basketball in Canada, it would probably work a lot better now just because of the general growth of our sport and the general support that the whole country seems to be giving basketball now.”continued Nick Nurse.