Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Saturday, June 13, 2020 11:34AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, June 13, 2020 3:03PM EDT
It has been one year since the Toronto Raptors won an NBA championship, setting of a massive celebration in the streets that may seem particularly far removed in the context of a global pandemic.
The Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors 114-110 on June 13, 2019 to claim the first NBA title in the franchise history.
The win united a city and a country and was later celebrated with a massive parade in downtown Toronto that was attended by millions of people.
Speaking with reporters on Saturday, Mayor John Tory conceded that [the] win and the celebration it set off now “seems so long ago” but he said that his memories of it remain fresh and may offer a lesson of sorts.
“I think what was great about it was people coming together,” he said. “People were together like I have never seen before. In front of Scotiabank Arena at Jurassic Park you had people from every corner of the city, from every corner of the country. It united all of Canada, not just Toronto and it united them behind a group of athletes who had such heart. You know they never gave up and I hope that is a message that people will take to heart on the anniversary, especially in the face of the pandemic when a lot of people feel a sense of hopelessness and helplessness. Don’t ever give up.”
The NBA season has been on hold since March 11 so the Raptors are still defending champions.
While there are plans to resume the NBA season in Orlando later this summer, the proposal is still, subject to negotiations with the players’ association.
On Saturday, Tory said that the team will remain champions “until further notice” as far as he is concerned.
“If they never get around to playing the playoffs I guess we would stay the champs for two years which is fine with me. We deserve it,” he said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also took to Twitter on Saturday to wish the Raptors a happy anniversary, calling the title “a moment we will never forget.”
The Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square will be lit in red and black tonight to mark the anniversary of the Raptors championship.