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Turning New Leafs

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Toronto Raptors Chris Bosh NBA 2010

So it’s a done deal right? Even as no contracts have changed hands and no ink has dried it’s still almost a certainty that Chris Bosh will only look like a Raptor next season. Well nothings for certain but even the most optimistic of GM’s, Bryan Colangelo admits that CB4 is most ‘likely’ taking his underrated game to a bigger market.

The Toronto Raptors have some rebuilding works in process already but with the free agent signing period looming they should think about making a better push at keeping their cement guy.

Bosh may be where the franchise starts but he’s not the be all and end all. Toronto has some other issues that they need to take care of before this franchise becomes a dinosaur team in this league.

At the peak of this team’s power over the last decade they were almost unstoppable. They actually had a solid, decent squad of players running from 1-15 and had a legitimate shot at being a contender for the first time since Air Canada made his departure. They need to get back to this level of play.

This was back in 2006 where the Raps came out of nowhere to be the Phoenix Suns of the East. A lot had changed about the franchise, ownership, money, court design, color schemes etc. The franchise was refreshed and invigorated. Gone where the previous childish logos, the team wasn’t playing kids games any more. Colangelo’s input had given this team the push they needed. Even the red and white uniforms spoke volumes for their patriotic stance towards their country. The Raptors weren’t about to take the Memphis Grizzlies route, they where here to stay in Canada.

Hip-hop music was being played between timeouts; an attractive presenter was keeping fans interested. The whole setup in the Air Canada Centre breathed new life into this team. The fans came out in capacities and gave the team those all important energy boosts.

As for the players Bosh was becoming more and more comfortable with himself resulting in him becoming more and more of a force and one of the premier players in this league. He let his hair grow out and he let his game spill over on to the court. He even came back from injury to clinch a game winning three from the then Iverson and C-Webb led 76ers. Basketball was getting exciting up north now. It was time for the network anchors to grab their warm clothes and take a trip across the border to see real ball. Basketball without borders, yeah the Raps showed that.

The rest of the team stood out as well. TJ Ford made sure that fans soon forgot about Charlie V and Fred Jones was throwing mid- second quarter dunks down hard, making it almost impossible for fans to go get some snacks. If concession profits fell then Freddy would have to be fingered for that one.

The team had a real international flavor as well. This brought extra options to the team and extra dimensions to the game. Anthony Parker shot the lights out most nights, he was one of the most slept on role players in the league as he was capable of lighting up to 20 quicker than most bench players in the league, he was pure. A player who was dirty on the other hand was Jorge Garbajosa. Garbo however was dirty in a good way, take Chris Oakley, Rick Fox and ‘The Junkyard Dog’ and mix them all together then you’ve got ‘The Garbage Man’. A loyal worker who handled all the rough plays, hustled hard and had a pretty stroke to counter his gruff look. It’s amazing Garbo is no longer in the NBA as he’s the type of role player that champions are made of, but then again this is the league where amazing happens after all.

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All though he showed some Rookie teething problems Andrea Bargnani was showing real promise especially in certain runs in the game. Jose Calderon was drawing most of the non-Bosh attention however. He was so quick, talented and prolific that he was taking Ford’s drive for the starting position of point guard away. He showed a rare mix of speed and scoring prowess for a small guy that Tony Parker had shown before him and that Rajon Rondo has showed since. When Jose was taking off court on a stretcher during a home game against Golden State fans looked like the Raptors season was in jeopardy. That game was only in earl December, that’s how little time it took for Jose to make a certain impact.

So this T-Dot team where putting their exclamation point on a league that had disregarded them as the ‘last remaining Canadian franchise’ or ‘that team Vince Carter’ used to play for (You can still hear the boo’s and hisses right?) The Raptors where playoff bound and the future looked bright but since then over the last four years they have looked less and less like this team. This franchise is far from becoming extinct but their glory years are looking more and more like memories for youtube then current highlight reels. The time for buffering is over this team needs to be seen clearly for what they can be.

Toronto is one of those underrated cities and their basketball team was looking like that too. With that being said however Toronto is still one of those big market, tourist cities. All the foreigners coming for a visit back in ’06 (Whether holiday or visa related) would have been pleasantly surprised to see a Raptors game. Nowadays they’ll just stick to Leaf games because Ice Hockey is Canada’s bread and butter.

This can all change however. Some of the Raptors core may have rotted but this basketball team can still eat if they just show their still hungry for success and so long as they don’t make a meal out of the good things they have. This type of fire and determination which was displayed in 2006 is still here now but if it was shown more however than just maybe Bosh wouldn’t be looking to make real Heat in Miami with ‘Bron and Wade or looking to add his celebrity to the Lakers Hollywoodland.

Bryan Colangelo is a business man, and a smart one too so even though a sign and trade looks like his best option financially it may be time for ‘angelo to get his ‘Mark Cuban’ on and show some heart over money. It may be time for Bryan to show that he’s all about rebuilding the foundations that he laid with this team back in what was arguably the franchises best all-round year. Then Bosh may even stay and it may just feel like 2006 again.

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NBA

Lakers Finally Get Anthony Davis. But At What Cost?

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Lakers Finally Get Anthony Davis But At What Cost
Hold On, We're Making Hollywood Your Home...

Ambivalence.

Like a rat crawling over some controls and releasing Scott Lang from the Quantum Realm in this Endgame, just like that the Lakers have their Ant-Man. And it’s an avenging, giant, levelling up move.

Anthony Davis is finally a Los Angeles Laker.

Still I hate to piss on this parade and sound like Morgan Freeman in ‘The Dark Knight’, but at what cost?

Well to be specific here’s the receipt.

Lonzo Ball (bad move).

LaVar Ball.

Brandon Ingram (okay we expected that, but still).

Josh Hart (what?!).

The fourth pick in this weekends draft (or should we say Cam Reddish).

And a load of other picks over the next few seasons. Or should we say a couple of Jordan Clarkson’s and Larry Nance Jr.’s.

Well at least they got to keep Kyle Kuzma for a formidable frontcourt that might be the new, next big three.

But the young core and that keep the hash-tag campaign is officially the casualty of this trade bait like the jobs of Magic and Dell Demps, that’s been fish on the line dangling for longer than that Kawhi Leonard rim rattling shot against the Sixers.

Rob Pelinka’s a beast…and not in a good way.

We will say it again. That clip of Rob Pelinka claiming he set up a meet between Kobe Bryant ans Heath Ledger after Mamba watched ‘The Dark Knight’ is beyond messed up. We all know Heath passed away before the film even came out. Don’t disrespect the dead. Can’t buy character. But can sell your integrity.

That’s who you are dealing with Lake Show.

Hollywood’s Rob Lowe would have been better.

Let’s see who you’re not dealing with anymore.

D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., Ivica Zubac, Thomas Bryant, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart.

Is that everyone?

What you wanted more?

All the years all the young guns with plenty more calenders left in their clips. All gone.

And they didn’t even ask for Julius Randle back as part of the trade kicker.

Come on.

But look to him staying in New Orleans now with Ball, Ingram, Hart and whoever else would have ended up in Los Angeles with that luck of the lottery fourth ball. And the Pelicans about to fly with the road to Zion looking like the closest thing to what would have been the young Lake Show for the future Mardi Gras in Crescent City.

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Don’t write off NOLA it’s all about to go down smooth in the Big Easy.

But after months of speculation, social media tweets and articles I rest my case, I’ll say no more. But you know how it is.

On the bright side in sunny California…Anthony f##### Davis.

The Lakers finally have their man. And next to LeBron the most dynamic duo since Shaq and Kobe…sorry Pau. It could be Finals…it’s at least playoffs.

Now it’s time to put another great core together.

Kemba? Three Kings?

Kyrie? Kevin? Kawhi?

Cue that laugh…hey we all have dreams in Hollywood.

Free agents will be more likely to join the ‘Space Jam’ show now too, but whoever LeBronland casts like throwing up movies off your phone on to your T.V. it’s a whole new world in L.A. now the Genie (or Jeanie) has finally granted their wish.

But how about two more Aladdin? On the spirit of Robin Williams help us Will Smith!

Then that will make up for all the young princes they’ve lost for one King.

As of right now like Swiss, this team has more holes than “fashionable” hipster t-shirts on Rodeo. There’s no starting point for one. And not having Lonzo ball out on the tutoring of both legendary super sub Rajon Rondo and the fellow pure point Basketball I.Q. of new assistant coach Jason Kidd is a real shame. Like losing a pure scorer like Ingram (or *clears throat* D-Lo). Or the best role player the Lakers have ever had since the days of Horry, Fox and Fisher in Josh Hart. Not to mention whoever would have come next starting this weekend.

All for a guy who was going to come to us next Summer anyway and in these changing player power times could still walk away next season anyway.

All for nothing?

I guess the Lakers looked at Leonard winning it all with Toronto and thought it was all worth it.

But at least it’s all done. It’s over now. And for now Anthony Davis in that Glen Rice 41 is the next big man great in the legendary Laker lineage of Mikan, Wilt, Kareem, Shaq and Pau.

Just don’t Andrew Bynum or Dwight Howard this up.

Rich Paul for MVP.

That’s all folks!

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NBA

The Six In 6. Toronto Become First Canadian NBA Champions

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The Six In 6 Toronto Become First Canadian NBA Champions
Kawhi Not?

They the North did it.

Last night in the Bay the 6 got turned upside down with no need for a seven right now. As Drake’s really big team got some really big rings.

And with a 114-110 win in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors for Game 6 of the NBA Finals. After almost a quarter century the Toronto Raptors became the first franchise outside of the United States to win the National Basketball Association finals to make history and become Canadian champions.

And in their Canuck colours pointing to the North from California with the gold, these red and whites flying the flag in the U.S. did it for all of us as they truly changed the game.

It started with an expansion 24 years ago in Toronto. Alongside the Vancouver Grizzlies. It ended with them being the sole franchise outside of America in the NBA as former Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol joined another former gritted Grizz in the form of his big brother Pau Gasol to be the first siblings in hoops history to be NBA champions.

It started with throwback cousins Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady in Dino unis, throwing it up and putting it down. Bringing the Air to the Air Canada Center. It ended like Vinsanity in the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest for a new millennium. Looking at the camera after honey dipping and putting it through the legs, telling us emphatically with cutting hand gestures, “it’s over”.

This is for him. Mac. Mighty Mouse. The Camby Man. The Junkyard Dog. Iron Man, Mo Pete. Chris Bosh.

You know it’s for DeMar DeRozan too especially.

Kyle Lowry (what more can you say with 26, 7 and 10 leading the way?). Gasol. Siakam (G-League to big league champ). VanVleet. Ibaka. Lin. And of course quite possibly now the greatest player in the world right now and Finals MVP (joining Kareem and the King as the only Most Valuable Finals Player with multiple teams), sinking that last free throw as epic as his around the world and a day buzzer beater against the Sixers in the six, Kawhi Leonard.

Nick Nurse the architect. And of course another one, James Naismith. This game was invented by Canadians, played by Canadians and like the first ever game in NBA history, this victory belongs to Canadians.

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Drake. Real superfan Nav Bhatia and the Canadian coffee house company Tim Hortons raising a cup to him commercial tribute. Everyone in Jurassic Park roaring like T-Rexes for these Raptors and of course all of you. Truly bringing the buzz to basketball.

This if for the real Warriors too. Five straight finals for the first time in a half century, 50 years (love Commish Adam Silver’s lining tribute). The dynasty that is nowhere near dead as they fought to the end for their last look in the Oracle in those Town across the chest jerseys before moving from Golden State across the Golden Gate to a new era of dominance in the hilly streets of San Francisco (the next time we’ll see Toronto is in Tokyo, October for our very own NBA Japan), where that digitally developing skyline from those tram peak points is the limit. No matter who stays or goes in this Curry, Durant, Draymond and Klay juggernaut with guys like Igudola and Cousins relating too. This is for Kevin Durant (who we apologize to for every Canadian fan who cheered his injury in Game 5. Although Warrior fans cheered for an injured Kawhi back in the day too) who played to the pain as all heart he proved everyone wrong and did it all for his team. And true Warrior mode Klay Thompson who went down with a crippling injury too in this final game and came right back to the right kind of cheers. This superteam and one of the greatest in history is far from extinct.

But right now for the Toronto Raptors it’s Jurassic World and the Golden State Warriors for the last time, fallen kingdom.

And as the final horn called for the last game of the season all hands were kept high for the North who overcame all the cold to break the ice for the first championship. And the champagne no longer on ice tasted as good as these underdogs proving everyone wrong as they bit back.

I’m not crying…we’re all crying.

We the champions my friends and Canadian countrymen.

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