Last night was a night that Canadian sports fans will never forget! The Toronto Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors by a score of 114-110 to capture their first-ever NBA Championship! The feat marks the first time in 26 years that the City of Toronto has captured a championship in any of the four major sports leagues. The last team to pull it off, as you may know, was the Toronto Blue Jays in 1993.
As expected, the Raptors’ superstar small forward, Kawhi Leonard captured the Finals MVP crown – the second of his career. Leonard is now, in fact, one of only three players in NBA history to become the NBA Finals MVP for more than one team. The great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a Finals MVP for both the Bucks and the Lakers while LeBron James secured the honour as a member of both the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Leonard was last named NBA Finals MVP with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014.
Today, he is widely known as the “King Of The North” since his joining the Toronto Raptors is what most basketball pundits believe is the top reason the Raps were able to contend for the NBA title. Now that the title has been secured, it’s up to Leonard to decide whether or not he will remain a Toronto Raptor, as he becomes a free agent this off-season.
At one point, most were pessimistic about Leonard making the decision to stay in Toronto, regardless of the outcome of the season. However, it seems as if there is more incentive for him to stay now than there ever has been. Winning an NBA Championship is certainly a huge deal. But it also seems that when it comes to securing an amazingly lucrative contract, the Raptors are the team that can most likely provide it.
Toronto can give Kawhi the cash!
When it comes to money, “Toronto can give Kawhi more of it than anyone else,” writes Jesse Campigotto of CBC Sports, “That’s because the NBA’s contract rules are designed to help teams re-sign their own players. Toronto will be allowed to offer Kawhi a maximum five-year deal worth around $190 million US (that’s $38 million per year). Other teams can only go up to four years and about $140 million ($35 million per).”
Before Toronto Raptors fans get all wrapped up in the potential of re-signing Leonard, their next step is to enjoy a huge championship parade. It is scheduled to take place this Monday, June 17th in downtown Toronto. Last night, the streets of Toronto were too packed for any parade to take place. It was insane! The party in the streets lasted until the wee hours of the morning. And you can expect there to be parties all across Canada, celebrating the NBA Champions all weekend long.
If you’re planning on attending the parade, the CBC offers the following details:
“Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment announced Friday that the parade in Toronto will begin at 10 a.m. Monday at the Princes’ Gates at Exhibition Place, and will finish at Nathan Phillips Square, where a rally will cap off the festivities.”
Congratulations to the Toronto Raptors – the 2019 NBA Champions!