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Rise of the Toronto Raptors

Rise of the Toronto Raptors
Fans gather at Nathan Phillips Square as they turn out for the Toronto Raptors NBA Championship Victory Parade after defeating the Golden State Warriors in the Finals on June 17, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Tuesday, 18 June 2019 03:02 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Though long fascinated with dinosaurs, children are unusually intrigued by their category of raptors known as birds of prey that hunt and feed on other animals.

“Jurassic Park,” the movie series, held the public captivated by the possibility of the rise of these dinosaurs in present day times. For the last several months the public has witnessed the ascent of the Toronto Raptors as they devoured the ranks of basketball champions — digesting the likes of the Orlando Magic, the Philadelphia 76ers, the Milwaukee Bucks, and finally the Golden State Warriors.

The composition of the “Toronto Raptors” has many lessons for present day existence which are easily written off because this is simply a basketball team.

First is the Club's President Masai Ujuri, an English born Nigerian professional who was a gambler and tossed the dice first firing Coach of the Year Dwane Casey in favor of publicly little known Nick Nurse who had risen through the ranks of the G League. Second he went after Kawhi Leonard, the much maligned San Antonio Spurs forward who stated he was injured and hadn’t been ready to play in his final season there.

The rest of the team was built around role players whose talents were well known though they were not — Fred VanVleet, true to his Wichita State training, became a shocker to the basketball establishment with his A game of defense and spectacular floor positioning; Kyle Lowry who seemed a dormant seven year team veteran rose to the rank of floor general, finding his game and the right man at the right time for the right shot; Danny Green, a 2013 NBA champion, continued with his Tar Heel gumption into the pros as he joined forces with Leonard to provide experience to a mesh of odd fellows; Serge Ibaka from his Congolese-Spanish background understood defense, capitalizing on his height and quickness; Marc Gasol of a Spanish background joins his brother Pau as having helped win an NBA Championship; and another rising star Pascal Siakam from the Cameroon in the heart of Africa stated he was learning and getting better every game, thereby not being swallowed up by the moment.

The NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptures was some of the finest basketball since the days of the Boston Celtics with Red Auerbach and Bill Russell. Pick and rolls, mid-range shots, find the open man, man in the corner (lifted by Dean Smith as the Four Corners offense), fast breaks or setting screens were all concepts that I heard and watched from the bleachers at NCCU as Johnny B. McClendon (the first black professional basketball coach, Cleveland Pipers) as he coached my favorite player, Hall of Famer Sam Jones, who would win 10 championship rings with his sweet 15 footers and game-clinching shots. Nick Nurse put team back in the game and individual grandstanding took a back seat to putting a winning combo on the floor. James Naismith, the founder of the game, would be proud of the 2019 NBA finals for this is what the game was designed to be.

Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and others with huge salaries and mind blowing endorsements are bantered around as the Greatest of All Times with which I firmly disagree.

The Toronto Raptors only had one top-ten draft pick and won without more than one superstar. Basketball, as in much of life, is in part about Darwinism, the survival of the fittest or who can pull others along to survive. Winning is important but how it is done is often times as important as the end game. Basketball is about winning and the man with the most wins; therefore the Greatest of All Times is Bill Russell.

Leonard won his 2nd MVP award on a second team in two different countries but the king of basketball is really the man for whom that trophy is named — Bill Russell, who won 11 NBA championships, also serving as the player coach for one of those wins. The continent of Africa is another winner for its talents were recognized from “Raptor” Organization President to key players.

The subtle message lost on many is that basketball is an international game. Though many black youth are mesmerized through pick-up games, AAU and other opportunities to do a bit of show boating, others want that seat at the table. Nelson Mandela appreciated the value of sports in developing friendships and networks through education if one appreciated that “There is no passion to be found playing small — in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

Ada M. Fisher, MD, MPH is a licensed teacher, retired Corporate physician, former county school board member, speaker, author of "Common Sense Conservative Prescriptions Good for What Ails Us Book 1" (available through Amazon. com) and is the NC Republican National Committeewoman. Contact through DrAdaMFisher.org. To read more of Dr. Fisher's reports, Click Here Now.

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Though long fascinated with dinosaurs, children are unusually intrigued by their category of raptors known as birds of prey that hunt and feed on other animals.
toronto, raptors, basketball
Tuesday, 18 June 2019 03:02 PM
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