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The lone NBA representative from Canada (since the relocation of the Vancouver Grizzlies to Memphis), the Toronto Raptors have been playing ball north of the border since 1995. Members of the Eastern Conference’s Central Division, the Raptors host their games at the Scotiabank Arena and always put on a show.
Humble beginnings saw this club start off like most other expansion teams, with a record will below .500. However, just a few years later, and with the help of Vince Carter, their number five overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft, the Raptors had climbed out of the basement and earned a playoff berth in 2000. Defeated by the New York Knicks in three straight games, the Raptors would return to the postseason the next year and overtake the Knicks in five games before losing to Philadelphia in seven.
A rebuilding period would follow that would see Toronto dip into obscurity for a while, only making the playoffs twice between 2002 and 2013. The Raptors were led by Chris Bosh during most of this period. A superstar power forward, Bosh represented hope for this squad as he led the way in both playoff berths. He would leave Toronto for Miami in 2010 for join LeBron James and Dwayne Wade on the Heat.
Toronto found itself in the midst of another rebuilding period. Slowly acquiring pieces, the team saw DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry emerge as stars. They were soon back in the playoffs and, after two years of first round exits, pushed the Cleveland Cavaliers to a six game series in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2016. Winners of five division titles in the last six seasons, the Raptors are on the brink of making major history in Toronto.
A big-time roster featuring the likes of Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol, and superstar Kawhi Leonard has been tearing through the playoffs with one goal in mind: An NBA Championship. Leonard sunk the 76ers with a shot that will go down in history at the buzzer in overtime of game seven against the Philadelphia 76ers to send Toronto into the third round of the playoffs. A hard series against Milwaukee will set the stage for the potentially first NBA Finals appearance for the Toronto Raptors.
Some incredibly talented basketball players have made their home up north in Toronto during the Raptors time in the NBA. Among the greatest to don the uniform include Vince Carter, DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Tracy McGrady, Kawhi Leonard, Chris Bosh, Damon Stoudamire, Jonas Valanciunas, and Serge Ibaka. More information about the history of the Toronto Raptors can be obtained by clicking here.