The Larry O’Brien Trophy had a busy summer travelling with the Raptors


The Larry O’Brien Trophy has not had a lot of rest since it became the one year property of the Toronto Raptors.

It has been on the move since it left the Bay Area last June 14th and it’s still making the rounds.

First stop was Vegas with the bulk of the team and then a night in Los Angeles as the celebrations continued.

But the trophy’s first stop in Toronto was a hospital room where it helped bring some joy during a very tough time for the Altilia family.

John Altilia is the Raptors manager of team security. He is with the team wherever they happen to be during the season but for the final two months of the championship year he was doing so knowing his brother Tony was terminal.

An older brother by 10 years, Tony was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in the spring.

Upon arriving home following the celebrations in Vegas and Los Angeles John got permission from the team to take the trophy to his brother’s hospital room.

“We all got emotional,” John said of the get together with the whole family and the Larry OB. The Raptors championship run had been a rallying point for all in the Altilia family.

“When we got home (on Father’s Day) I phoned my sister and said ‘Get the family down there. I’m bringing the trophy. They had no idea.”

That was stop No. 1 for the trophy upon its arrival in Toronto and the journey has continued ever since.

Less than two weeks later the trophy made the trek to Iowa, near the hometown to Raptors’ head coach Nick Nurse.

“I didn’t actually get (it) to my hometown yet because that thing they had — they had Nick Nurse day in Iowa,” Nurse said recently. “The governor came and everything but they did it at a casino that was about 25 miles away from my hometown. Most of my hometown was there and it was really close to my mother’s farm that she grew up on. One of my old owners of the Iowa Energy owns the casino so it all kind of fits together. So I took it there and we took it to Chicago. Got some incredible shots of (former Cubs’ skipper Joe) Maddon and me and the trophy on the field.”

The Chicago trip was Nurse’s year-end coach’s retreat and overlapped that now infamous Nurse clip of him singing Take Me Out to the ballgame during the seventh inning stretch of a Cubs’ games.

“Maddon has a restaurant there named Maddon’s Post … so we had a three-day retreat leading into when I sang,” Nurse said. “Everybody was there. One of the nights. It must have been the night I sang (the seventh inning stretch), but I can’t remember, must have been. Anyway we hired out the whole top floor of Maddon’s restaurant and he came and stayed the whole time, hung out with everybody. All my friends and family from Iowa came in and all the coaches were there, all the Raptors staff. He hung in there the whole time and took pictures with everyone. It was really cool for my family and friends because a lot of them are Cubs fans too to have him there.”

And of course the trophy was there front and centre sharing the spotlight with Maddon.

A number of the players have had their turn with the trophy as well (see attached chart). As long as you were part of the roster, you qualified for the honour of taking it home or to a spot of personal significance.

But it wasn’t just player’s and coaches who had their turn with the cup.

Team president Masai Ujiri had the Cup with him in Nigeria and Cameron for his Basketball Without Borders tour. Pascal Siakam was on that trip as well and while he hasn’t had the Cup to himself he counts that trip as his time with the Larry OB.

Veteran centre Marc Gasol hasn’t had any time at all to spend time with the Cup. He went directly from the parade back home to Spain where he immediately immersed himself along with Raptors’ assistant Sergio Scariolo who would head up Spain’s eventual gold-medal winning entry in the FIBA World Cup in preparations for the tournament. He’s barely had a moment to himself since.

The good news is the Raptors have the trophy for the remainder of the regular season so there’s still time for Gasol and even Siakam, if he chooses, to take the Cup home for a couple of days.

When Fred VanVleet had his turn the destination for the Cup was a no brainer. One of Rockford’s most famous exports, VanVleet took the trophy home with him in mid-July.

“I hold a camp every year back home so all the kids and basketball junkies got to see the trophy and take pictures, so that was a really cool moment, not only for me but for our community,” VanVleet said.


June 29-30 Nick Nurse Near Carroll, Iowa
July 12-14 Fred VanVleet Rockford, IL
July 18-19 Raptors Coaching Staff Chicago
July 20 Jodie Meeks Georgia
July 26-27 Chris Boucher Montreal
July 31 – Aug 1 Norman Powell San Diego
August 6-12 Masai Ujiri Nigeria and Cameroon (with Pascal)
Aug 16-17 Malcolm Miller Maryland
Aug 22-24 Kyle Lowry Philadelphia
Aug 27-29 OG Anunoby Nashville
Sept 2-5 Kawhi Leonard San Diego