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Expansion

The Raptors were born into existence when David Stern realized that there was money out there he didn’t already have. The NBA also wanted to add a team in a country other than America because it would get to call itself an “international” league, and thus the idea of a team in Toronto came into existence. While David Stern and his fraudulent, greedy and most definitely hell-bound advisors were concocting a scheme to get a team in Canada, some people in a city called Vancouver started crying about it. To shut them up, the NBA offered to create a team there as well, as long as they promised to suck, and that they did very well.

Nobody quite knows how many years the Grizzlies were in Vancouver, or whether they won any games, but rumour has it that once on a cold -60 degree night, they almost managed to assemble a 15-man roster. These rumours to this day remain unconfirmed, mostly because nobody actually went to see the Grizzlies, and on the odd occasion that somebody did show up, they were only there by accident as they had simply gotten the dates for the Steve Miller Band concert all mixed up.

Unfortunate Name

Fans and ownership in Toronto were equally excited about having a team other than the Maple Leafs in town. The fans were excited because it gave them something to do since going to a Maple Leaf game involved taking out a second mortgage on your house, or blowing up your kids’ college fund. The ownership was excited because they could charge $15 dollars for half a pint of last week’s beer and nobody would complain. In this excitement they made their first mistake. The ownership had no idea what basketball was, all they knew was that it wasn’t hockey and that there was no ice involved. That much they were sure of, almost 100%.

When the NBA asked the Toronto franchise to pick a name, chaos ensued. Serial entrepreneur and casual drunk, John Bitove, commented on the request at the time, stating, “We were shocked! How were we to pick a name for a ballbasket team? I suggested calling them the Basketeers but nobody got the joke”. As is the case when somebody doesn’t know how to do things, they ask other people who don’t know how to do things to do those things. So the public was asked to name the team and since nobody could be quite bothered with thinking about this silly stuff, they just recalled the last movie they saw, which happened to be Jurassic Park. Bitove later revealed that they were “this close” to calling the team the Goldblums.

The First Year

Evil conglomerate and dictatorship, ESPN, had told everybody that Ed O’Bannon was good and Raptors fan believed them. In the first break the franchise got, then General Manager and girly-man, Isiah Thomas, picked some short guy from Arizona who was roundly booed on draft day. In a foreshadowing of just how clueless the Toronto fans were, that short guy won Rookie of the Year and somehow led the team to 21 wins. Nobody knew who those 21 wins came against, but lo and behold, there they were. Mathematicians, statisticians and noble prize winners were gathered from across the globe to tally up the wins and sure enough, there were 21 of them. Notables on the first team included fab-five-failure, Jimmy King, Crotian butcher, Zan Tabak, and former air-balloon, Oliver Miller.

Premature Celebration

In what was to become a staple of the organization, the first form of premature celebrations took place, mostly due to the ignorance of fans and lack of parking at the Skydome. Used to 2-1 and 1-0 score-lines, the Canadian hockey-fan-turned-basketball-customer, was left entirely confused by the constant increase of points on the scoreboard. Every time the Raptors scored, it prompted wild celebrations from the faithful, some even hurling their hats on the floor after a made three-pointer. Perhaps the free-throws were the most confusing part, on one memorable Wednesday evening against the Bucks, Tony Massenburg sunk the first of two FTs which was met by a roar of applause followed by loud horns and confetti. The crowd thought the Raptors had won in a penalty shootout when all Massenburg’s free-throw did was make it 21-20 in the first quarter. Half the stadium emptied immediately and the Bucks went on to win 93-88. Tracy Murray later philosophized about the peculiar night: “I thought there was a fire-drill I didn’t know about”.

Much, much later on, ADD-sufferer and announcer, Chuck Swirsky, celebrated Raptors “victories” well before the game had even ended. He signaled the conclusion of the game by yelling out the names of random vegetables and meats, and ordering TV viewers to approach the fridge in order to make a sandwich. The amenable fans obliged by turning the TV off only to later find out that the Raptors had lost by 25 points. This also resulted in Raptors fans hoarding ungodly amounts of meat just in case Swirsky would declare victory in the first quarter, leaving the viewer with little else to do since it was only 7:15pm. Fans were bewildered by what Swirsky’s influence had done to them, “I have 350 sausages at home and I don’t even eat pork”, cried Abdul.

Continuing with this theme, amiable giant Matt Devlin, still refuses to check the scoreboard before declaring Swirsky’s signatory, “Raptors win, Raptors win”. On one rather funny occasion, the Bulls had failed to score on the final possession of the game, leaving the score tied. That didn’t stop Devlin from proclaiming that the Raptors had won, confusing fans and obligatory Irishman, Jack Armstrong alike. In a more toned down version of a similar story, he declared that the game against the Nets was going to overtime when the Raptors had clearly won.

Slight successes followed by total failure

The following year the Raptors drafted college standout, Marcus Camby from UMass. It was the last time anybody would pick anyone from UMass. Unfortunately for the Raptors, Camby spent more time turning his neck side-to-side checking whether he had broken it than actually playing basketball. It wasn’t so much that Camby was soft, it was more that he couldn’t stand any pain. Camby was once famously sidelined for six weeks when NBA-nobody and then coach, Darrell Walker, stretched Camby too far when he executed the “down low” part of the “high five, up high, down low”.

Despite Camby’s best efforts to singlehandedly destroy the team, they managed to win 30 games including a great win over 72-game winners, Chicago. Michael Jordan was quoted after the game as saying, “I can’t f*&^ing believe this”. Damon Stoudamire was also heard uttering, “I can’t f*&^ing believe this”. In fact, as soon as the game ended, nobody in the arena cheered, they just collectively muttered, “I can’t f*&^%ing believe this”.

It also helped that everybody on that Raptors team (except Marcus Camby and Carlos Rogers) came to work like they wouldn’t be paid unless they left the court completely dehydrated after exerting the effort of a 100 cranes working a 24-hour shift. This effort was rewarded by the fans by clanging thundersticks at their own players as they shot free-throws.

The next year the Raptors drafted Tracy McGrady, who was quite good but never got to play because Darrell Walker “simply didn’t like the cut of his jib”. McGrady later turned out to be a pretty good player, but Walker had scarred him to the point where anything and everything in Toronto reminded him of that douchebag, and he eventually left for a sunnier climate. The Raptors only won 16 games that year, and halfway through the season Damon Stoudamire showed his true colors and asked to be traded. Reasons for the trade request ranged from being upset about the pending departure of Thomas, and being distraught with losing. However, the real reasons turned out to be that Damon never quite got a good supplier in Toronto, at least nothing to match “that sh*t I had growing in my backyard in Portland”.

Shameful but honorable speech

After that season concluded with Allen Iverson dunking over Camby, Camby’s parents, Camby’s cousins, and his cousins’ cousins, Glen Grunwald took the floor at Maple Leaf Gardens and said:

“This sh*t can’t get any worse, so I can guarantee you that it’ll get better”

Everybody loved Grunwald for that speech.

Vince Carter Era

Historic Draft Night

Glen Grunwald drafted Vince Carter after a bizarre trade on draft night which saw his North Carolina teammate, Antawn Jamison, get drafted by the Raptors only to be traded. This occasion is quite momentous in NBA history because it marks the only time compulsive liar, Peter Vescey, has ever gotten a story right.

Slam Dunk Champion

Vince Carter is the best dunker in the history of the game. By about 10 miles. He showed that in the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest, an event that has since died, been resuscitated, only to fall in a coma and die again. Carter’s performance raised people’s expectations of the 2001 Slam Dunk, but the tease that Carter was, he didn’t participate stating that he had “nothing to prove”. Steve Francis ended up winning the 2001 event after he rebounded his own jumper for a layup.

Vince Carter dunks on everybody

Carter went on to dunk on just about everybody in the NBA and was soon considered an elite player. To this day, Vince Carter is solely responsible for 90% of the Raptors fans that exist. If it weren’t for him, the Raptors would be in Idaho. Carter guided the Raptors to the playoffs in his second season, only to lose to the Knicks, who had signed criminal malcontent, Latrell Sprewell. The Knicks made it all the way to the NBA Finals. Everybody was shocked at this unforeseen development, after all the Knicks were a terrible team who were only still in the NBA because they delivered a truckload of cash to David Stern’s Soho apartment every night. The shock was cleared when people realized that this was a lockout-shortened season with only 50 games played. It also helped that most players didn’t show up to the games thinking that Michael Jordan was still in the league, and how there was no point in playing the season “since that bastard won everything anyway”.

Pointless Lawsuit

During the middle of the Raptors first playoff appearance, coach Butch Carter decided to sue Marcus Camby for defamation of character as the player had called him a ‘liar’. The lawsuit had a disastrous effect on Vince Carter’s shooting percentage even though research conducted at MIT showed the two events “had nothing to do with each other”. It also didn’t explain why Butch Carter didn’t sue his brother, wife, mother, father and sister, as they had called him the same thing at various points in his life.

Glorious New Heights

The following season the Raptors beat the Knicks and lost to the Sixers in the second-round after Vince Carter missed at the buzzer in Game 7. Carter hurried his final shot as alien entity, Tyrone Hill, flew by him. Replays showed that Carter had enough time to order a steak, pay for it, catch a movie, and play a round of Madden, before deciding to shoot. Despite the crushing loss and Lenny Wilkens, it had been a good year for the Raptors who had finally “shed the expansion tag”. Unfortunately, over the next five years, that tag was stamped back on.

Carter’s Life Ruined

When Vince got very popular, his mom moved to Toronto and ruined his life.

The things that caused fans to hate Carter, eventually leading to his exit, include:

  • Carter taking too many jumpers.
  • Carter doing a Hyundai commerical.
  • Carter opting to not dunk on the fastbreak when he easily could have.
  • Carter not giving a sh*t.
  • Carter laying on the floor pretending he was taken out by a sniper when all that happened was that someone took a charge on him.
  • Carter smiling when the team was getting its ass handed to it.
  • Carter receiving a big contract.
  • Carter being Carter.
To be continued…