It happened. It really, actually, finally happened.
Twenty-four years after the franchise took its first steps, the Toronto Raptors are now — for the first time in their history— NBA champions.
After an intense and nail-biting series with the Golden State Warriors, the team emerged triumphant with a 114-110 win Thursday.
And while there will be much ink and screen space (rightfully) dedicated to the players themselves, let’s have a look at just some of the ways Raptors’ fans showed their unbreakable support for the team.
They stood in lines for days to snag a spot into the now-legendary Jurassic Park
Though it didn’t end the way Raptors fans were hoping, Game 5 of the NBA Finals took all the drama and intensity of the series and turned it up to 11. The Raps were leading the series 3-1, and a win here would have resulted in championship glory.
Fans who wanted to witness this potentially-historic moment at Jurassic Park — a fan-filled area right outside Scotiabank Arena — lined up days in advance and weathered heavy rainfalls. They looked ecstatic to be doing it, too.
“I’ve been a Raps fan since day one, young, young,″ 15-year-old Kamryn Thompsett told the Canadian Press at the time. “Being in the NBA Finals is a big thing to me. If they win tonight, it’s party all night.”
They didn’t win then, but they have now. Party on, Kamryn. As much as a 15-year-old can, of course.
Fans flew in from far and wide to witness history
Like Sidney Tso, who according to CBC News paid $1,200 for a last minute flight to Toronto from Hong Kong in late May. That’s on top of the pricey tickets to the game.
Or Shariq Daudi, who flew in from the United Arab Emirates and shelled out $1,200 for a ticket.
“Between the Leafs and the Raptors, I have never had the chance to be a part of something like this. I’m 44 so it has been a long wait,” he told the Toronto Star.
Others stayed put to start their own Jurassic Parks
Fans across Ontario, Canada and the world banded together and formed their own viewing parties to cheer on the Raps.
Whether it was Burlington’s excellently-named “Burlassic Park” — a slow golf clap to the person that came up with that one — or Jurassic Park South in Memphis, fans did not let geography or time zones get in their way.
They maintained that ... particular Canadian politeness
Early in the series late night TV host Jimmy Kimmel sent some of his show’s crew members to Toronto to try to get Raps fans to “trash talk” the Warriors. It didn’t go as expected.
You can watch the whole thing embedded below so I won’t spoil it, but my favourite, most brutal diss has to be from one woman who just says: “You’re losing tonight! You’re losing.” So ruthless. So visceral. So nice.
And when some fans acted like jerks, others spoke out
Perhaps one of the ugliest moments in the finals came in Game 5, when Warriors star Kevin Durrant took to the court for the first time since May. In the second quarter, he collapsed in pain due to an agonizing Achilles injury.
The situation was bad enough, but then some Raptors fans started cheering. They quickly stopped after Raptors players like Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka and Danny Green told them to cut it out.
But the damage was done.
A whole lot of criticism broke out, both online and on the ground. Warriors players called it “classless” and “trashy.”
But then some Toronto fans stepped up to show that some bad apples won’t spoil the fanbase. Almost immediately after the incident, a fundraiser was set up to donate money to Durrant’s charity foundation.
Another anonymous fan sent flowers. “I was watching the game and felt horrible. It was a total disgrace,” the fan wrote in a card to Durrant. “I hereby apologize on behalf of Canada. Prayers for recovery.”
And if that wasn’t enough, yet another fan set up a website called “Sorrykd.com”
They got clever when they did want to troll the Warriors
Jurassic Park wasn’t just Raptors fans’ headquarters, it was like a think tank for hilarious and super Canadian signs to troll the Warriors.
“Draymond Green pokes people on Facebook,” one of them read.
“Steph Curry drinks beer with a straw,” said another.
Check out more below:
They took the “We the North” slogan very, very seriously
How far did Raptors fever spread? Really far — 3,000-kilometres-away-from-downtown-Toronto far.
In the tiny hamlet of Cambridge Bay in Nunavut, Raptors fans repped the “We the North” to an extreme.
“One of our big jokes is the line ‘We the North.’ And up here we kid, ‘We the real North,’” Paula Cziranka, a high school teacher in the remote community, told The Canadian Press.
And a further 1,800 kilometres northeast of Cambridge Bay is Canadian Forces Station Alert, the most northerly permanently inhabited place on Earth. Also home to these fans:
And last but not least, they gave us chills with a performance of ‘O Canada’
During Game 2 of the finals, Ontario’s very own Alessia Cara took the mic to perform “O Canada.” But she changed it up from the usual performances of the anthem by going silent during some parts, letting the passionate fans carry it.
That must have impressed someone in charge of organizing these games, because in Game 5 anthem duties were almost completely handed over to Raptors fans.
Longtime national anthem performer Doug Tranquada kicked things off with the opening stanza to the anthem, and then the fans took it away:
The performance was powerful, and you could tell just how passionate these fans were — and are — for a team that has routinely electrified and entertained us all.
Drake, too. I guess.
Congrats to the Toronto Raptors, and to their polite, troll-tastic and passionate fans!