Toronto Raptors heroes and villains: A Space Jam tribute


The Toronto Raptors might only be a few decades old, but they’ve already woven quite a rich tapestry of history across their franchise. We’ve seen hated villains rise from the muck and heroes that helped the Raptors take home the first championship in franchise history.

Even though the NBA media as a whole tends to overlook Canada, you could write several movies focused exclusively on storylines and personalities that dominated Raptors talk over the last few years.

The Space Jam: A New Legacy trailer dropped on Saturday and it sparked a thought. Which players in Raptors’ history would be the heroes in a hypothetical game with the franchise on the line? And who would be the villains?

Here are five players that would probably get called up to save us, and five players that could play the villains. Who do you think could come out on top of the fate of the world depended on this matchup?

Which Toronto Raptors Space Jam lineup would win?

The Heroes

Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors, Clippers

TORONTO, ON – DECEMBER 11: Kyle Lowry (L) of the Toronto Raptors with Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Kawhi Leonard

Leonard came to the Raptors in a trade with the San Antonio Spurs in 2018. As soon as he stepped on the court, he was clearly the best performing Raptor to ever put on a Toronto jersey. Leonard’s play created a championship buzz in the city that was unprecedented. He brought the city its first championship, this solidifies his spot on the list.

Kyle Lowry

Also known as the GROAT (greatest Raptor of all time), Lowry’s spot on this list is undeniable. The real question is, does Lowry deserve a statue when he retires?

Vince Carter (1998-2003)

The franchise’s first superstar. Irrespective of how his time with the Raptors ended, Carter’s influence on basketball in Canada speaks for itself. Vinsanity put the city on the map and kept the franchise respectable.

DeMar DeRozan

The man that was sacrificed for the greater good of the franchise. DeRozan helped build the winning culture that still lingers in the Raptors’ locker rooms. Without his excellence, the Raptors don’t have the assets to trade for Kawhi Leonard.

Chris Bosh

During Bosh’s time as a Raptor, he was easily the second-best player in franchise history. He led the franchise for years without much real help. Bosh was also pivotal to DeRozan’s growth as a player, being his veteran mentor, and the franchise as a whole.

The Villains

LeBron James, Toronto Raptors

CLEVELAND, OH – MAY 05: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

DeMarre Carroll 

DeMarre is known in Raptors nation as one of, if not the only, the few players that were able to beat Masai Ujiri at the negotiating table. After signing a $60 million contract in 2015, Carroll averaged 8.9 and 11.0 points per game in his two seasons with the franchise.

Andrea Bargnani 

Bargnani is one of the most polarizing players in franchise history. He was the first pick in the 2006 Draft, but never lived up to that title. Considering players like Lowry, Rudy Gay, Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge were all in that draft, the Raptors should never have picked him.

LeBron James

King James has, almost single-handedly, squeezed the hope out of Raptors fans for years. He is, to the Raptors, what Michael Jordan was to the New York Knicks in the 90s, an impenetrable wall.

Vince Carter (2004-2005)

After years of success with the franchise, he wanted out and left. This is one of the worst breakups in the history of basketball, if not sports. For years, Carter was booed every time he put a foot down in Toronto.

Paul Pierce

Pierce was on teams that eliminated the Raptors from the playoffs in back-to-back years. He was once seen as “Toronto’s kryptonite,” and was never shy about letting the fans know “why they got me here.”

Who wins if the teams played one game?

The two Carters cancel each other out, so the game would depend on the other eight players. There’s no debate that James would be the best player on the court, so this would be a problem for the Raptors. However, the Raptors have the better defenders and overall roster.

The game would be fast-paced, with a lot of threes being launched. Both teams would get to the rim with minimal congestion at the rim, as Bargnani mans the middle for the villains and Bosh for the Raptors. Because of this, both teams would easily score over 100 points.

With 10 seconds left on the clock, the Villains are down 115-116 after a Leonard splashes in a jumper. The ball is in James’ hands. Four Raptors set up a wall above the paint. James dribbles, five seconds, he kicks to a wide-open DeMarre Carroll, with no one standing within five feet. He bricks the shot.

Raptors win 116-115.