Former Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry joining the Miami Heat was easily the most exciting offseason move, but it didn’t come cheap or without sacrifice. In exchange for the six-time All-Star, the Heat had to say goodbye to Precious Achiuwa and fan favorite, Goran Dragic, to the Raptors.
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Miami Heat’s official Twitter account revealed Lowry would continue wearing his Raptors’ jersey number last week, their comments section blew with strong reactions. “Not my No. 7,” one man tweeted, while another person commented, “smh can’t believe y’all let him wear the Dragon’s number so disrespectful.”
The veteran guard’s disappointment and frustration were shared by all of Heat Nation, emotions that were further compounded by learning Lowry would wear The Dragon’s No. 7 jersey for the 2021-22 NBA season.
On Monday, the jersey controversy reignited after it was revealed that Dragic would not be wearing No. 7 as a member of the Toronto Raptors.
TSN Sports’ Josh Lewenberg tweeted, “Dragic will be wearing No. 1 with the Raptors. He said he was happy to give his friend and former teammate Kyle Lowry his blessing to wear No. 7 with Miami and never considered asking him to do the same, understands what Lowry means to the Raps franchise.”
Raptors Fans Tweeted High Appreciation for Dragic’s Announcement
It seems clear that Dragic is yielding wearing No. 7 out of respect, not out of spite, and the gesture was not lost on Raptors fans. Numerous people tweeted in response to call Dragic a “class act.”
“I appreciate this gesture by Goran Dragić to not wear Kyle Lowry’s number who is Raptors legacy to us. Respectful. Classy,” one woman tweeted, while another person commented, “Ok Dragic you’re forgiven for those comments and are now the best. To know what 7 means to the Raptors is big for someone who has earned respect across the league for himself.”
“This is good to hear after Dragic’s early stumble when joining the Raps. I view him a little more favorably now, but time will tell,” another fan tweeted, while one man surmised, “Clean slate. He’s a raptor, let’s treat him like one.”
Dragic explained on Monday that he picked No. 1 because it’s a jersey number he’s worn before with the Phoenix Suns, “and I did pretty well that year,” the Slovenian star said with humility.
Lowry Helped Lead Miami Heat’s Media Day on Monday
While Dragic’s presence will be dearly missed in Miami, the excitement for Lowry becoming an official part of the Heat family was palpable on Monday. Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra couldn’t help but praise his talent during media day:
Kyle is somebody we’ve had great respect for. He’s a great winner. He knows how to impact winning. He’s a decorated player. All of it is earned. When you weave through all of that, the All NBAs, All Stars, it boils down to him finding a way to impact winning. He can really control a game from a classic point guard position. His mind for the game is as high as anybody in the league. He also has a unique way to be able to play off the ball. .. He can score and make plays.. Defensively, he’s physical, tough, smart.
Lowry’s best friend, and now fellow teammate Jimmy Butler, also showered him compliments. “Kyle is a damn near genius knowing how to get players the ball. He takes pressure off me and Bam [Adebayo]. He facilitates, can finish, gets to the line. He gives Bam the room to just go and be who you are and just go and not worry about too much else.”