Actually, thereís a fourth reality: If the Raptors struggle, as most of the pundits predict, attendance at the Air Canada Centre will drop, and when that happens, bloggers, TV pretty boys and basketball scribes, mainly south of the border, will speculate anew if the drop in attendance means the beginning of the end of NBA basketball in Toronto.
It already has begun.
The topic has been raised on certain websites, including Real GM. Personally, Iíve been asked over the last few days, both on the radio and TV, if NBA basketball is ďviableĒ in Toronto, now that everyone expects the Raptors to finish poorly.
To which I say ... enough.
The idea that Toronto is on shaky ground as a basketball city is wrong, and the fact that the question is raised on a consistent basis when the team struggles is stupid.
The only reason the question is brought up is because the Raptors play in Canada, and because our hippy-dippy cousins on the west coast lost their franchise in 2001.
But this isnít Vancouver.
We might not have mountains or the ocean or high hopes, but weíve got a large and rich enough foundation of fans who will continue to support NBA basketball even if the team struggles.
Look at the numbers. The Raptors have generally been less than great, making the playoffs only four times in 15 seasons and getting past the first round only once. Yet, other than three seasons, the Raptors have always finished in the top half of the NBA in attendance. The three times they didnít, they were 16th, 17th and 17th. Ten times they have been in the top 10. Last season the Raptors averaged 17,897 at the ACC, despite missing the playoffs again.
This year, believe it or not, Raptors ticket people are expecting similar attendance figures to last season, based on a season ticket renewal rate of 87%.