A year ago, today, the Toronto Raptors won their first Larry OB.
A year ago, today, Drake found out he likes his chips with the dip.
A year ago, today, Kawhi smiled.
A year ago, today, the Raptors placed a curse on the Golden State Warriors.
Not only was one year ago today so special because we were allowed to be in a packed bar, high-fiving and taking our shirts off while spinning them around our heads to the Raptors winning it all. God damn, it’s been too long since I’ve seen a urinal or the underside of dirty table. But it also marked a change was coming in the NBA.
I will even go as far as saying that the Raptors winning the 2019 NBA Finals was the last piece of the puzzle to place a curse on the Warriors organization. I know, pretty bold claim, sorry to throw that statement out there to all of you Warriors fans reading in California, but rip your dirty old pipe bowl and hear me out, ya fucking hippies.
First off, the most obvious piece to the puzzle being the most recent, with the Raptors winning the Championship. Which was massive because it put a halt to the Warriors ‘dynasty’ that saw them in the Finals for 5 straight years. Not only did Toronto put an end to a dynasty, but they CLOSED DOWN THE ORACLE. Take that into consideration, the Toronto Raptors walked into the Oracle to not only close out their season with a ring, but will forever be known as the visiting team that walked into that arena and won the last game ever played there… Which just happened to be Game 6 of the Finals.
Let’s backtrack though, because while ending a dynasty and closing out another teams arena in that fashion is legendary, it’s not enough to warrant a claim saying that the Raptors cursed the Warriors.
Think back to the first time a Raptor made their mark in that very same Oracle Arena out in Oakland.
Two words mashed together.
Bet you didn’t know the home of the Golden State Warriors was also the birthplace of a new star in the NBA. Also, at the time the arena was called ‘The Arena in Oakland’. How shitty did the Warriors used to be that no company wanted to associate with them until Oracle bought the naming rights in ’06? Also, why not ‘Oakland Arena’? In case it wasn’t clear enough, may as well use the arena name to explain what that arena-like looking building off the Bay Bridge is, which sole purpose as a bridge is to take you into the city of Oakland, hence, ‘The Arena in Oakland’.
Anyways, the 2000 Dunk Contest is one of the most iconic moments in NBA history and it was done by a Toronto Raptor, in the home of the Golden State Warriors. That’s it, IT’S OVER, conversation done with. That night catapulted Vince Carter’s career, simultaneously putting Toronto on the map. It was the start of Toronto not being circled on the schedule as an easy W anymore and were now contenders in the East with nation-wide star Vince Carter. Not only did Toronto close out the Warriors arena with a Championship, Vinsanity also gave the arena its name. You know, ’The Arena in Oakland That Vince Carter Erupted’.
Not only that, we can keep watching it over and over again to this day on YouTube. Go ahead and watch the Dunk Contest video above to get yourself amped up today, you deserve it.
This isn’t the part that sucks the most though, what makes it worse is that Vince’s iconic night in Oakland could have been in a Warriors jersey.
Draft Night 1998 in Vancouver, the Toronto Raptors pick Antwan Jamison with the 4th overall pick, while the Golden State Warriors select Vince Carter with the 5th selection.
Wait hold-up. So, this wasn’t a pass in a Draft like how the Blazers took Greg Oden over Kevin Durant. The Warriors actually had Vince in their hands and then traded him away.
The situation was the Raptors GM at the time knew they wanted Vince Carter and were going to end up drafting him, but you should never give up an asset for less than peak value. That’s some business guru shit right there. So, knowing that the Warriors were as set on Antwan Jamison and other teams high in the draft were also interested in the big man, the Raptors cut a deal.
Toronto agreed to trade their 4th overall selection (Jamison) for Golden States 5th overall pick (which Toronto made them select Vince Carter), but Toronto also received cash as a part of the deal. NOT JUST THAT, but because Vince was technically a 5th overall pick and not the 4th overall pick that the Raptors had, they didn’t have to pay their rookie as much as per the leagues CBA, since technically Vince was a lower draft selection. Toronto didn’t even want Jamison, but the Warriors didn’t know that, so they could have saved their money and ended up with the exact same player, but instead they got swindled. Stick a quarter in your ass Golden State, ‘cause you played yourself.
Fast-forward back to last season.
The 2019 Warriors line-up, which looked like a team some kid put together in Franchise Mode on NBA2K featured ‘The Snake’, Kevin Durant.
What people don’t know about Durant, the so-called saviour that shoulda coulda woulda beat the Raptors if healthy, is that he actually wanted Toronto to win. Well, as a kid at least.
In an interview almost a decade ago on the Dan Patrick Show, Kevin Durant said that growing up he wanted to be a Toronto Raptor. Between the jerseys and Vince Carter, he was drawn to the city and wanted to be a part of it. The biggest reason being is he saw how Vince took a new team and gave them a name. He says, “How he brought Toronto from being one of the newer teams in the league to you know almost going to the Finals, so you know he changed the culture there in Toronto”.
First off, words come back to haunt you Kevin. You literally had a similar situation with OKC being the newest team in the league (after moving from Seattle) and almost made it to the Finals, like Vince. Except the next year you threw that ‘culture’ away for an easy ring to join the team that beat you, a decision which you can say destroyed that culture of a new NBA city in Oklahoma.
Second off, fuck you Dan Patrick for laughing at his answer to what team he wanted to play for, you’re from buttfuck Zanesville, Ohio. Take your nerd inhale laugh and enjoy the god-awful Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals. The only joy your state has ever had was when LeBron was there and even that level of talent could only win Ohio 1 ring in 11 seasons. Even the one person all your people of Ohio look up too couldn’t stand it there and left, TWICE. Eat shit buddy.
But back to Durant. Let’s just call the hypocrisy of your statement and later actions years after that Dan Patrick interview karma, with the karma being Toronto ending your phony career at Golden State. Don’t say you want someone’s opportunity or situation, then have the grace of God grant you a similar chance and throw it away. Losing that Finals to Toronto may have been Gods way of saying fuck you and telling you to check yourself.
Still not enough to convince you that this is a curse?
Okay, well I’ve got one last piece of evidence to present the jury and I’ll leave the end decision up to you.
Who can forget Kawhi’s shot over Embiid to close out Game 7 of the semis against the Sixers? If I close my eyes I can still see the ball bouncing elegantly on the rim, followed by a swift swish through the net, followed by an aggressive scream and head bang against the wall out of pure excitement and joy, followed by a sprint outside to scream even more, followed by a notice from my landlord last month to get that head-sized hole in the wall ‘handled’. I’ll get around to it Rich, get off my ass it was for the Raptors, nerd.
What some people do forget time to time, however, is the Game 7 where Vince Carter missed the game-winning buzzer beater shot that would have beat the 76ers. That devastating Game 7 loss is what prevented Toronto from advancing to their first ever Finals. Well, 18 years later Raptor fans saw some Game 7 Redemption which helped advanced them to that first Finals appearance. Which just so happened to also be against the Sixers, along with the first Game 7 buzzer beater ever, and the first time Kawhi showed any ounce of emotion in his life. That gave me chills man, if you didn’t feel something there then you’ve been locked up for too long and forgot the feeling of watching sports.
Maybe this will make you feel something again.
It’s just the way it is. Some teams get unlucky, ask Boston fans about the Babe Ruth curse or Maple Leaf fans about the last time their team won a Stanley Cup. All good things come to an end and the Warriors experienced that cliché quick and hard, that’s what she said.
Their 5 year dynasty and NBA Finals run got ended by the Raptors, their arena got shut-down by the Raptors in the process of ending that dynasty, that very same arena was the place Vince Carter made his bitch in the 2000 Dunk Contest, not only that, the Warriors drafted Vince Carter but traded him to Toronto, then their best player gets a back-hand from karma at the hands of the Raptors and finally Toronto’s Game 7 loss got reversed, giving them their long-awaited title shot.
Coincidence? More like you got cursed Golden State. At least you had some fun while it lasted, most your fans are 12-year-old bandwagons that already left anyways.