It deeply hurts me to think about how many talented superstars have come and gone through the T.Dot and worn the Toronto Raptors uniform. It’s obvious that the Dinosaurs are unable to keep superstar players on our only Canadian team. Names like Damon Stoudamire, Marcus Camby, Tracy McGrady, Chauncey Billups, Antonio Davis, Doug Christie, and now Vince Carter have all come and gone. Now the question remains “Who will be next? Chris Bosh?”
With all the massive talent the Raptors have had and lost, I decided to take a closer look at why most of these players decided to leave the organization. When Vince Carter made his return to Toronto to play his first game in a New Jersey uniform, he decided to give the media some of the reasons that eventually made him leave. He mentioned, and we all knew, that the main reason was that the Raptors failed to surround him with enough talent to ensure success. But more importantly, he touched base on some minor things that the management might not have been aware of.
Some minor things I’d like people to know is that a lot of these players have grown up in a certain type of urban area, so when they come up to Toronto they look for that familiar scene. While Toronto is an urban city, it’s a different type of urban. Canada has yet to bring basketball to the level that these players are accustomed to seeing in the States. There is no Rucker Park in Canada; we have our substitutes but nothing that’s truly equivalent. Then you have Canadian television, can you imagine what it’s like for an NBA player to watch TV in Canada? We barely see anything about basketball, unless you subscribe to Direct TV.
Then there is the bigger picture… the life these players have to live when they’re not playing. Moving their families to Canada forces the entire family to adopt a new culture. As similar as it is, it can still be one they may not entirely understand. That can be pretty hard to deal with, and definitely undesirable. Who knows, maybe that could be the little factor that pushes players to the other side of the coin making them say “yeah, trade me, I want to go somewhere else.” Maybe it’s this lack of familiarity, lack of understanding of Canadian culture that influences players to leave instead of toughing it out. What I’m trying to get at is that the Raptors need to look at the little things, such as the ones mentioned above, that will make these superstars feel more comfortable in Canada. Most importantly, they need to start making wise decisions with their draft picks so that they can effectively surround their key players with upcoming stars.
Let’s hope that management figures this out before it’s too late and we lose yet another gem, that being Chris Bosh. The 21 year-old Texas native not only calls Toronto a home, but he treats it as such by giving back to the community. One of the most apparent ways is through The Chris Bosh Foundation. But on a lighter note, he’d tell you himself with enthusiasm just how he feels about T.O. and it’s nothing but love. He understands how appreciated he is, and that’s a beautiful thing. Best of all, the kid has game!
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