Before we go on, don’t get it wrong: this column is no moralist’s crusade against the legal consumption of booze and consenting beauty. Pro athletes are nocturnal beings by necessity. They play late, they play later. And if sports history has taught us anything, it might be this: great players overcome hangovers. Babe Ruth hit 714 on beer and hotdogs. And mediocre talent is exactly that, stone sober or otherwise.
Still, I’ve been covering the Raptors regularly since the starting power forward based his lively operation out of a Royal York Hotel corner suite (Charles Oakley circa 1998), and I don’t recall a season that brought as much discussion about the off-court indulgences of the local hoopsters, both in emails from tattling fans and conversations with insiders.
Perhaps it’s a symptom of the TMZ age, but as one team employee who was granted anonymity opined: “This year, (the partying) was a little too much.”