It’s the beginning of June and sports fans in Canada are taking to the streets and making the headlines once again. And I know what you’re thinking, Canadian’s in the streets? Another riot in Vancouver? Well surprisingly it’s a sport other than Hockey that has Canadians amped right now. Basketball. Yes, freakin’ basketball!
It’s been 26 years since a Canadian Hockey team won the Stanley Cup and during this championship drought, Canadian fans grew hungrier and hungrier for the chance to taste victory again. The Toronto Raptors joined the NBA in 1995 and now 24 years later they are the only hope for Canadian fans to claim a championship in the last 2 decades.
Lining up in the streets of Toronto up to 15 hours prior to Game 1 of the NBA Final, the hottest ticket wasn’t to get into the stadium but for fans to stay out in the streets! Toronto’s fan zone outside the Scotiabank arena dubbed ‘Jurassic Park’ has put the world on notice. With one reporter commenting that the scene looked like a presidential inauguration, with more than 10,000 fans gathered to join the Raptors in making history. For the first time ever, an NBA final is being held outside of the USA and the first time in franchise history the Raptors have made it to the NBA finals.
In a country united by fans chanting ‘We The North’ in the streets, there is something to be said for the way sport can bring people from all walks of life together. Friends, enemies, it doesn’t matter, for the next few days it’s country above self. It’s that all for one and one for all mentality and Jurassic Park has put that on display for the whole world to see.
At the moment the series is tied up 1 - 1 between the Raptors and the Golden State Warriors. With game 3 heading back across the border to Oakland, this NBA Final is turning out to be quite the series.
All images courtesy of Noah Picton