the return with great fanfare of Kyle Lowry in Toronto

Off-peak times oblige, TrashTalk has taken the habit each summer of making you relive with emotion the greatest moments of the past season. Even in 2021, moreover, despite a summer that had then put all of our vital forces in PLS, but that’s another story. So we go back to our good old formula, we take a few steps back, a few months, and we remember that this 2021-22 season was crazy, from the first day to the last. Today ? We come back to this famous night when Kyle Lowry made his comeback at his home in Toronto.

It’s a relationship… indescribable. Far from the simple commitment formulated by the signing of a few contracts, far from the classic expectations to which all NBA players must comply, the bond that unites Kyle Lowry and the Raptors goes far beyond basketball. This connection, built over nearly a decade, is now forever anchored in the heart of the man, as in that of every Toronto fan. A unique report, celebrated on the occasion of the return of the point guard to his « home », on April 3, 2022.

Let’s get this straight: yes, that night, a basketball game did indeed take place between the Raptors and the Heat. But honestly, we don’t really give a damn. Because in the eyes of all NBA fans, this night of April 3 was above all synonymous with one thing: the great return of Kyle Lowry to Toronto. Remember. Arrived in Miami after a sign-and-trade in the summer of 2021, it was with a heavy heart that Kyle left « The 6 ». And for good reason, the leader spent no less than nine seasons there, during which he will have… experienced everything. Alongside DeMar DeRozan, the latter will first be mocked for his inability to carry the Dinos during the Playoffs. However, on an individual level, everything is going wonderfully. Died of starvation on a field, load taker luxury, vocal leader par excellence… Klow quickly became the darling of Raptors fans. There, he would be named All-Star six times. Quietly, Calorie settled into franchise history as one of its greatest exponents. Number one in the number of passes (4,277), interceptions (873), shots from the parking lot (1,518) and even triple-doubles (18), it is in 2019 that the latter will definitely establish itself as the ultimate face of the franchise.

As the lieutenant of a stratospheric Kawhi Leonard, Lowry will lead Toronto to the title after a crazy playoff campaign. The images of his sincere smile when he understands that he has qualified for the NBA Finals against the Warriors are also immensely symbolic of what such an accomplishment represents for Lowry, who will have fought for very long years to be able to reach at this stage. His Game 6 against Golden State in 26 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds and 3 steals will forever be remembered as the performance that gave Canada the first ring in history. The curse has disappeared, the glass ceiling is shattered and for many, the debate is already almost one: Kyle Lowry is the GROAT, the Greatest Raptor Of All-Time. The challenge for the franchise was therefore to pay tribute to the height of this magnificent love story between the player and his city. And even if it may seem difficult to achieve this, we all agree that Toronto has done a very good job.

From the start of the day, the tension is palpable. On social networks, many videos showing the point guard back in his city, greeting his ex-colleagues and finding his ex-teammates are circulating. Obviously, the room is full, as are its surroundings. The crowd gathers to attend the ceremony, which promises to be very moving. Spoiler: it did. When he exits the tunnel to enter the field, Kyle receives a standing ovation. In fact, he even gets plenty. His first warm-up lay-up? Standing O. His first shot from the parking lot? Standing O. Kawhi Leonard was also warmly welcomed by fans upon his return, but the excitement of Lowry’s is on a whole other level. The atmosphere is both heavy and electric, because everyone is waiting for THE moment, that of tribute. That’s good, we’re getting there.

As usual, the presentation of jugadores starts with the opposing team: the Heat. A man however – guess which one – is not immediately introduced, and waits wisely on the Miami bench with his two children seated next to him. Then comes the turn of the Raptors, before the room is plunged into darkness. It’s time. All eyes are glued to the ceiling, in the direction of the jumbotron where the video tribute to Mr. Kyle Lowry begins with the message  » Welcome back Kyle“. For more than two minutes, the boy’s career at the Raptors will be traced chronologically, beginning with his arrival, and ending with his own words:  » Toronto was my team, I always considered it my home. I will retire with the Toronto Raptors. The images sum up the player well: hustle, big shots, a hell of a booty, a compilation of strong passages – of course – and above all an omnipresent smile, communicative and which is so pleasant to see. The emotions ? There are also plenty of them, especially when we see the images of the guy with his buddy DeMar DeRozan, brutally released from the team in 2018 or, conversely, those of the title and the historic parade of the Raps.

Throughout these 126 seconds, the voices of a pack of protagonists are heard. Kyle himself of coursebut also Dwayne Casey and Nick Nurse, his two historic coaches, Jack Armstrong, official Dinos commentator, Drake, Klow’s number one fan, his own children, official mascots of the franchise, and Masai Ujiri, always there to put things right. clear :  » Is Kyle the greatest player to have played here? Yes, it is. This impact, this legacy that Lowry leaves behind, goes even beyond the pitches. Charitable projects, foundations, donations… Calorie has also done a lot for the local community, as the images chosen for this show show very well. tribute.

However, it is time for the latter to end, to give way to a standing ovation of madness. In a room where supporters, coaches, players, journalists are standing to applaud, the Canadian announcer presents Kyle as if he were still a Raptor. Accompanied by his kids, the boy gets up to head to the center of the field. Moved, he will stay for a minute at the level of this logo for which he has given so much. We can read on his lips the repeated “thank you” he utters when he does not have his arms in the air or his hands joined. And if the tears are held back, the shivers run through our bodies. Almost 20,000 people shouting “Lowry! Lowry! Lowry! “together, it necessarily does something. Under a final ovation, Kyle joins his Heat teammates, for a huddle very special, which marks the end of the festivities and the start of the match.

As you have been told, the meeting in itself was not very important in comparison with the event which preceded it. We can however note that from the start of the match, an award-winning shot from Fred VanVleet made him become the Raps’ most prolific 3-point shooter in a season, beating the previous record of… Kyle Lowry. Because yes, more than a reunion, the moment also sounded like a transmission of the torch between the past, symbolized by the hero of the day, and the future of the franchise. in the person of FVV but also Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby and even Scottie Barnes, who also quickly won the hearts of Canadian fans. Far from being flamboyant, Calorie will post a small 16/6/10 to take Miami to victory. Yeah, we really don’t care right now, right? After remembering this splendid evening, we leave you with the reaction of the principal concerned to the magnificent tribute paid to him:

“It meant everything to me. You know…to see the fans thanking me like that, giving me such a standing ovation, to be on the court with my former teammates, my brothers, to have the opportunity to see Bobby again. [Webster, ndlr] and Maasai [Ujiri, ndlr], just every person around… it’s one of those days when… the first time is always special, and you don’t forget it. And I think the organization… they showed how classy they were and they showed me that everything I did here meant a lot to them, and vice versa. »

– Kyle Lowry

April 3, 2022, designated “Kyle Lowry Day” by the mayor of Toronto himself, will forever be remembered as the day when an entire country paid tribute to a player who made it vibrate for nine long years. A love story that nothing and no one seems able to break for the moment, except the filthy statue which had been built for the event. Too bad, because in principle we were in agreement.

Text source: Sportsnet / Raptors HQ / ESPN / Complex

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