The Raptors’ Rise Focuses Canadians on a Different Net
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The finale on Thursday night was an exercise in time and reality distortion, as a timeout and somewhat arcane N.B.A. rules stretched the final few seconds on and on, even reversing the clock at the very end. That was all swiftly forgotten when victory was declared and the celebration began.
For Canada, the Raptors’ win ends a long drought for Canadian teams in big money, North American sports leagues. My oldest son was born a few weeks after the Montreal Canadiens took Canada’s last Stanley Cup, and a couple of months before the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series. He’s been a fully-fledged adult for several years now.
Part of the Raptors mania over the last few weeks likely involved the magnetic appeal of winners. The team’s slogan is “We The North.” But does their success mean that the north is now basketball?
Earlier this week I traveled to Toronto and some of its suburbs to look into that question, at least in the Raptors’ backyard. In a city where just over half of residents identify as members of a visible minority group, there are plenty of neighborhoods where basketball rules and hockey is almost a stranger.
And during the last couple of weeks, Raptors fans have gathered in “Jurassic Parks” across Canada to follow the games.
Hockey, of course, isn’t anywhere close to needing palliative care. And we’re also seeing other sports grow in Canada, particularly soccer and tennis.
But I’d like to hear from sports fans, bandwagon or otherwise, wherever you live in Canada. Has basketball replaced hockey in your life, or is there room for both? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and include your city, along with your name. We may edit and use some of the best replies in an upcoming newsletter.
Before the championship excitement dims, there are some other stories by my colleagues you should check out. Thursday’s final match was the last one that the Golden State Warriors will play in Oakland, Calif., after 47 seasons. The team is crossing the bay to San Francisco, the city of tech billionaires, and insists that it will remain part of gritty and diverse Oakland. But John Branch found that many in Oakland aren’t buying that. “Ten miles, 20 miles — the bay might as well be 1,000 miles,” one resident told him.
Inevitably, the finals spawned various corporate publicity stunts. And the Raptors’ exceptional performance meant that one fast food chain ended up giving out a lot of free french fries at its Ontario stores.
The partying may stagger on until Monday’s official parade in Toronto. But I’ve turned my attention to a different team, whose members are Canadians and not multimillionaires: Canada’s entry at the Women’s World Cup of soccer.
—When he announced that Canada will move to ban most single-use plastics as early as 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Canadians toss out more than 8 billion Canadian dollars worth of plastic products each year.
—There are now roughly the same number of New Yorkers playing in the N.B.A. as Torontonians, about a dozen from each area.
—When hockey stars need a suit, many of them go to Montreal, regardless of where they live, to see an 86-year-old Italian immigrant.
Around The Times
—The current generation of a German family whose corporate holdings include Keurig coffee, Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Dr Pepper soft drinks decided it was time to explore their murky past. The result is a more complex story than anyone imagined.
—Already famous for her detective novels, Agatha Christie herself became the world’s biggest mystery when she suddenly disappeared in December 1926. Tina Jordan has pieced together a terrific account of the case from The Times’s archive.
—Caleb Cain was sucked into the vortex of extreme-right politics on YouTube. Videos by two Canadians helped steer him there.
—Going long distances by plane is about the worst thing anyone can do as a private citizen to contribute to climate change. Where does that leave travel, then?
—When a fire tore through a Hollywood studio backlot in 2008, initial reports suggested that little of significance was lost. They were wrong. For music, it was a catastrophe.