The Toronto Raptors are still looking for their first championship and are making initial NBA finals appearance. The Raptors are one of 12 teams that have not won an NBA title, per Hero Sports. The following teams do not have an NBA championship: Toronto Raptors, New Orleans Pelicans, Phoenix Suns, L.A. Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Memphis Grizzlies, Orlando Magic, Charlotte Hornets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers.
Prior to the 2019 NBA finals run, the deepest the Raptors went in the playoffs was during the 2015-16 season. Toronto made the Eastern Conference Finals but lost to the Cavs 4-2. This was the farthest the team was able to advance and were led by the DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. Toronto opted to trade DeRozan over the offseason for Kawhi Leonard, a move that helped the franchise have its best season to date.
Prior to the NBA finals, Raptors president Massai Ujiri praised DeRozan and former head coach Dwayne Casey. Ujiri noted that they were part of the foundation that has allowed the team to compete for a title this season.
“Give Dwane Casey credit,” Ujiri said, per CBC. “He prepared us for this, too. It’s not something that started in one year … I want to say Dwane Casey and DeMar DeRozan are part of this. They are part of our journey and how far this has come.”
Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady & Other Top Players Helped Increase the Raptors Popularity in the Team’s Early Stages
Things did not end the way either party may have liked but Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady played a major role in helping the NBA grow in Canada. McGrady ended up leaving the team via free agency, while a disgruntled Carter was traded away. The Raptors inaugural season was in 1995 and a 1998 draft day trade for Carter helped alter the franchise’s trajectory for the better.
Carter and Raptors fans have had an up and down relationship over his career. Carter recently noted that he has positive memories of his time in Toronto.
“The joy of coming to this arena, each and every year is something I look forward to,” Carter noted to Sportsnet. “That’s never going to change, whether I was being booed or not. I enjoy playing in this arena and it’s icing on cake when fans are appreciative.”
The Blue Jays, Maple Leafs & Toronto FC Have All Won Titles
Toronto is not totally devoid of championship success. The Blue Jays won back-to-back World Series in 1992 and 1993. More recently, Toronto FC won the MLS Cup in 2017. The Maple Leafs are the most storied team in Toronto with 13 Stanley Cups, but their last championship came in 1967. Rolling Stone noted in 2017 how Toronto is one of the top sports cities.
The city doesn’t merely support championship-level events, though. Tickets are in-demand – and usually not cheap – regardless of whether a franchise is slumping or flourishing. The diverse culture of Toronto residents brings out spectators for nearly every competition of note.