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It wasn’t just crowd in “The Six” that rejoiced in praise, but so did the rest of Canada.
Why, you may ask?
The Toronto Raptors advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for only the second time in their history. Being the only Canadian team in the NBA roster, to say this moment wasn’t one of pride for Torontonians and Canadians would be an understatement.
Here’s a clip of the shot that sealed the deal:
In an absolutely heart-pounding and nail-biting finish, Toronto won the seventh game by edging out the series 4-3 in their favour.
Kawhi Leonard’s last-minute unbalanced jump-shot left the Scotiabank Centre silent, as the ball tumbled over the rim four times before finding the net.
The Raptors have now advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals where they will play the Milwaukee Bucks, who in turn absolutely razed the Boston Celtics 4-1. The celebration has driven fans into a frenzy, and rightfully so, as they have every reason to rejoice.
In a historic moment for Torontonian and Canadian pride, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh also joined in on the parade of national pride:
Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer gave his praise, and was ready to rally the troops, stating “Bring on the Bucks!”
New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh also used #WeTheNorth, while praising Kawhi’s insane shot.
The beauty of the game and the beauty of the shot made everyone push their politics aside and appreciate the strength of the team, the city, and the nation.
Meanwhile, fans went absolutely berserk. Here are some tweets and relatable reactions from them showcasing their euphoria:
The Toronto Raptors’ Twitter handle showing live reactions from fans at Jurassic Park. Fans once again gaining the same hope as they did during the 2015-2016 season, the last time they advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Fans certainly couldn’t control their emotions as this buzzer-beater from Kawhi Leonard made every single human being in the stadium stand up at the same time.
Fans watching at home showing that while they couldn’t physically be there, they were with their team in spirit
Fans at home transforming their living room into the stadium. The experience of victory, nonetheless, is the same.
The sweet embrace of victory is the best drug for every devout fan.
Needless to say, this is true.
While Torontonians rejoiced, the nation that stood behind them like a rock got their moment of happiness too. Raptors fans all across Canada were quick to express their pride:
Fans in Vancouver were fully behind and united for The North.
Empathic responses from fans, eager to show their support and love for their team.
The great success of Toronto this season, and the possible future success they are very much in sight of, could trigger a new chapter for Canadian representation in basketball. These wins have united Canadians into supporting Toronto, and with great market potential, could this could be a vital first step in proving to the NBA that Canadians are ready for another shot at a 2nd franchise?
Safe to say, Kawhi is the real King of the North. The last time Toronto went to the Conference Finals, they lost 4-2 to LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers. Coming from a 2-0 deficit, Toronto managed to heroically tie the series 2-2 after the fourth game, but lost two successive games afterwards leaving no room for the 7th.
Toronto will now face the Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals, and with this energy, it can be said that they could pull off another win, and this time, claim their much-deserved spot in the NBA Finals. With Kawhi Leonard on the helm, and the team playing in unison, the task this year may be hard, but definitely not impossible.