In case you’ve never seen my bio, met me IRL, or read my Twitter feed… I’m a Toronto Raptors fan. I’m one of those long-standing, loud and proud fans that fell in love with this team long before they started winning. Before Vince Carter was a household name, and here I am long after Chris Bosh took his talents to South Beach. Still a huge fan.
If you’re familiar at all with the NBA, you probably know that the Raptors have been a bit of a joke among the league. That they’re terrible. That they don’t ‘have it’.
ESPN even had a poll on their website, once the Final Four was decide, asking who was going to win the championship.
Seems like everyone outside of Canada was counting the Raptors out.
But on Friday night, as I watched my team loose in game six of the Eastern Conference finals, I felt so proud of my team.
Well, okay, if I’m completely honest, if they’d gone on to the finals and won it all, yeah, I could probably muster up some more of those feelings.
But yeah. I’m pretty damn proud. This was a hard fought, amazing ride of a season. Many records were broken and everyone kept saying the Raptors couldn’t do it. They were going to be swept by Indiana. We were never going to beat the Heat. Even after a few years of some terrible post-season runs, the fans were getting nervous.
We went from worrying about having to face Chicago in the first round of the playoffs to being two wins away from the finals. Two wins away. From the Finals.
As a long time fan, it was awesome to see the fanbase grow as new people started to get onboard, started to discover this team. To see what a great franchise the Raptors are. To see what it’s like to have a group of likeable players. To see what it’s like to have a team that actually wins. (Sorry, Leafs fans. Couldn’t resist it).
And finally, after spending so much time having to defend and justify myself for being a Raptors fan, the rest of the world is finally starting to notice the Northern uprising. We’re no longer just the other team. We were one of the final four. We’re earning respect. I mean, even the self-appointed basketball King is taking notice:
Real recognize Real. 👊🏾 @KingJames #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/ltojBxNz80
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 28, 2016
We’ve built a good thing here.
And you can probably still hear us, the fans, still chanting, even two days after the end of one of the most exciting seasons in franchise history came to a close.
So don’t count us out. We the North. And we’re just warming up.