top of page

The Toronto Raptors Win Canada’s First NBA Title as Diversity Champs

Updated: Jun 15, 2019

Today marked a historic moment for the Canadian team as they brought the champion home, for the very first time ever.

Source: Toronto Star

Meet Toronto Raptors – the new kings of NBA basketball. These players are the first outside the US to claim the title, and oh – they come from all over the world.

Thursday's game was tight, going back and forth between the Raptors and the Golden State Warriors. But the Raptors took the game in the end with a 114-110 for a 4-2 series victory.

Kwahi Leonard certainly didn’t disappoint – the star player led the team to win the NBA title and was named Finals MVP.

Raptors point-guard Kyle Lowry and forward Pascal Siakam put up spectacular performances as well, each with 26 points.

Source: The Canadian Press

For many, the thought of “Toronto Raptors” and “NBA champions” in the same sentence is probably unimaginable, even to die-heart fans.

This team, that once shoot hoops in purple dinosaur uniforms, couldn’t keep star players or attract free agents.

Toronto was too cold, and too Canadian.

but they didn’t give up.

Fast forward few decades later, they team has transformed into a high-spirited squad of united nations.

Jeremy Lin posing with the NBA champion trophy; source: Jeremy Lin's official Instagram

Team President Masai Ujiri was born in England and raised in Nigeria. Serge Ibaka is from the Congo. Gasol will play again for his native Spain this summer in the FIBA World Cup.

Coach Nick Nurse won his first championship in Britain, where reserve OG Anunoby comes from. Even the team's superfan, Nav Bhatia, comes from India.

Jeremy Lin, an Asian-American, speaks Mandarin. The assistants on Nurse's staff have backgrounds from stints as players or coaches in France, England, Germany, Italy, Australia, Israel and more.

The director of sports science is Scottish. The head trainer is from Ontario. Jamaal Magloire, who has been on the staff since his playing days ended, is a Toronto native.

Source: The Canadian Press

"It meant a lot, just having guys from different countries and speaking different languages," Pascal Siakam said. "I think it kind of got us closer together. And you kind of have all those little kinds of friendship with guys that you can speak the same language with, and from Spanish to French to English, different cultures. I think kind of it represents Toronto in general, having that diversity."

Source: CNN, The Globe and Mail

bottom of page