Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fortunate Moments for Unfortunate Franchises: The Toronto Raptors and Air Canada

The Toronto Raptors usually suck. The only time they didn’t suck was when Vince Carter was jumping over people. And then Vince Carter jumped back over the border like it were a 7 foot Frenchman, only to reappear now and then again for his annual booing. Chris Bosh was okay, and led some okay teams. Damon Stoudamire was fun. Shania Twain sometimes sings the national anthem. And that’s 17 years of history.

Of course, I’m being unfair. I’m sure a Raptors fan could similarly dismiss the Warriors last 17 years as boring and unsuccessful, and they wouldn’t necessarily be wrong, but what do you want me to do? I’ve plumbed the depths of Toronto Star archives, Raptors bloggers and the like, and I just can’t find much to get worked up about. Bill Simmons always mentions that Toronto fans are underrated, and that they, more than any other fan base, get irrationally angry at the fun he pokes at them. They seem like a passionate bunch, but it seems like nothing the Raptors have ever put on the court has deserved that passion.

The candidate list for the Raptors fortunate moment goes something like this: Winning their first ever game, somehow managing to inflict one of Chicago’s 10 losses as Michael & Co. set the record for fewest regular season losses, Vince Carter winning the 2000 dunk contest, taking AI’s 76ers to game 7 of the 2001 Eastern Conference Semifinals, booing the shit out of Vince Carter after he weaseled his way out of Toronto, finally getting rid of those heinous purple uniforms.

This series was conceived as a way to recognize that, while not every team can win an NBA Championship, every team has small moments of glory and brilliance that resonate with their fans. Raptors fans had those moments…and then VC quit his way to the Nets and ruined them all. Hell, when I google “Wikipedia Vince Carter” (I swear you get to Wikipedia like four seconds faster that way) the second result is the Toronto Raptors page. In the absence of any other defining players (Tracy McGrady? Chris Bosh? Andrea Bargnani?), and not having been around long enough to truly have a history, VC is it.

And so I’ve talked myself into it. The most fortunate moment in Toronto Raptors history was trading Antawn Jamison to the Golden State Warriors for Vince Carter and cash. He may have only called Toronto home for six years, but at least it was an entertaining six years. He was the proverbial shooting star that burned bright and fast…and then landed on your house and crapped in your living room. I don’t think that was part of the proverb.

Vince gave six years of ridiculous dunks, a few playoff appearances and a fateful Bachelor’s Degree from the University of North Carolina. If he had come into the league in 2012, #aircanada, #vinsanity and #fuckgravity would be tweeted nightly by awestruck Torontonians (yes, I did feel silly typing that entire sentence). Try night to be bitter, sweet Raptors fans, and remember the good times:

1 comment:

  1. Interesting blog! They seem like a passionate bunch, but it seems like nothing the Raptors have ever put on the court has deserved that passion, I don’t think that was part of the proverb. Thanks for sharing!

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