Posts Tagged ‘Old School Raptors’

Former Raptor Hedo Turkoglu has been suspended for using illegal performance-enhancing drugs, leaving many fans who remember his tenure with the Raptors to wonder whether he got his money back. (Photo:

I always wondered how he did it; barrelling through defenders, throwing down inhuman putback dunks, swatting away shots with his chiseled arms. Like everyone else, I was swept up in Hedomania, back in those heady days of the 2009-10 season, when Turkoglu (or “The Raging Istan-bull” as we knew him) was making the Raptors true title contenders.

On some level, I think that deep down we all knew it was too good to be true, but we wanted to believe the lie. It’s not fair for any one man to dominate the game as Turkoglu has done over the past decade.

The dream is over. Read the full story here.

2000 – Tracy McGrady

When Tracy McGrady lost the 2000 slam-dunk contest to Vince Carter, he was not just another victim of Vinsanity. He was the first in what would become a long and proud line of Raptors to lose the NBA’s dunk competition.

McGrady’s dunks are now footnotes to the night that belonged to his cousin, but they were all solid. Had he been in the competition a year later, he may have won with dunks like this one:

2008 – Jamario Moon

As the decade continued, Raptor participation evaporated, despite Toronto’s roster being filled with human highlight reels such as Lamond Murray and Loren Woods. But then, in 2008, Jamario Moon appeared came out of nowhere and started dunking on everybody. The former Globetrotter had the difficult task of being the first dunker in the competition. (Interestingly, McGrady and DeRozan also had to break the ice in their respective years.) But in 2008, Moon broke the ice with a gorgeous dunk:

(Note: The 2008 contest also featured two familiar faces teaming up for this dunk.)

2010-2011 – DeMar DeRozan

Next up was DeMar DeRozan, who turned losing the dunk contest into an art form. He lost to sentimental favourite Nate Robinson in 2010, and returned the next year, only to lose again to the prop-heavy theatrics of Blake Griffin and JaVale McGee. In 2011, rumours circulated that the contest was rigged, and DeRozan swore he was done with the whole thing. Only a Raptor could put together such an impressive repertoire of dunks and come home empty-handed two years running:

2013 – Terrence Ross

After last year’s yawn-fest, the 2013 edition boasts an impressive field of former champions, young stars, and international dunking legends. And right in the middle of all this is Terrence Ross, the only person who will be attending All-Star weekend in a Raptors jersey. Here’s the official Holy Craptors prediction for this year’s contest:

  • Kenneth Faried will finish 6th. A good in-game dunker, I have a hard time seeing how Half-Man/Half-Hair will impress in this one, especially given the competition.
  • Eric Bledsoe will finish 5th. He’s short, but not Spud Webb short. And without Clippers announcer Ralph Lawler making the call, his dunks might not be as impressive.
  • Jeremy Evans will finish 4th. Won it last year, but his closest challenger was Chase Budinger. I’m pretty sure John Lucas could beat Chase Budinger in a dunk contest.
  • Terrence Ross will finish 3rd. But his dunks will be beautiful. Some players just look good dunking. Vince Carter was one; give him a run-of-the-mill dunk, and he’ll make it look good. Something about Ross’ dunking motion is smoother than most players, and not many people outside of Toronto are familiar with his athleticism.
  • James White will finish 2nd, Gerald Green 1st. All eyes will be on these two, who competed in the 2010 Russian league dunk contest, cited by many as the best competition ever to take place outside of the United States. White will be framed as the journeyman, the dunking specialist who, at age 30, is taking his last shot at the spotlight. Green will be framed as the former champ (2007) who has bounced around internationally, and fought his way back to the top.

Never mind that Ross’ dunks will probably be nicer than White’s or Green’s. He will bow out early to give someone else a chance to shine. Because that’s what Raptors do.

Go get ’em, Terrence.

If you’re not familiar with Grantland, you should be. They’ve recently put together this video, an insightful explanation of how the crap the Raptors allowed Kobe Bryant to score 81 points on that fateful day in 2006. It’s already one of the most embarrassing moments in Raptor history, but somehow Jalen’s commentary, and the lovely animations, make it easier to take.


I love the “inept Raptor #4” character who appears at 1.49. I also love the exchange at 2:18…

Interviewer: “Why didn’t you guys double team him?”
Jalen: “That’s a great question.”

Good times.

Former Raptor is #1…

Posted: October 4, 2012 in Uncategorized
…on a recent list of the Top 20 Fattest NBA Players of all-time.

Oliver Miller, seen here disguised as a jug of purple Kool-Aid.

I’m serious. The brilliant people at Complex Sports have compiled a list of some of the NBA’s biggest attractions over the years. Raptors Legend Oliver Miller, aka “The Big O”, lumbers in at number 1. See the full list here.

We love ya, Ollie!

Aaron Frisch, author of "The History of the Toronto Raptors", required reading for all Raptor fans.

Do you love the Raptors? Do you read at a grade 3 level? Boy oh boy do I have a book for you.

Browsing the children’s section at the library today (don’t ask why) I discovered this little gem of a book, published by Creative Education in 2002, when Vinsanity sparked every young Torontonian’s interest in basketball. It’s a doozy of a read. Some highlights:

  • It features Antonio Davis on the cover, putting down a huge putback slam and possibly wondering whether he wants to let his children grow up in Canada.
  • On every page, for no particular reason, a random Raptor’s name will appear in huge font. So you’ll be reading a sentence about John Bitove’s business ventures in the 1980s, and then suddenly a name like ACIE EARL will jump off the page and punch you in the face. It’s awesome.
  • The last sentence (spoiler alert!) will make you want to laugh and cry at the same time: “As Toronto heads into the 21st century, one thing is certain: like the dinosaur on the team’s logo, the Raptors’ days as an NBA doormat are a thing of the past.” Ouch.

The final page of the book, with its classic final sentence, followed for no apparent reason by "Jerome Williams" in huge font.

You can browse Frisch’s various sports books here.

In the meantime, if you know of any other Raptor-related books that deserve a mention in this space, let me know:

Holy Craptors! It’s Jorge Garbajosa!

Any Raptor fans remember Jorge Garbajosa? Known in Toronto as a player with a lot of promise before suffering a gruesome broken leg in 2007, Garbo is still playing back home in Spain…and judging by this video, he’s a force to be reckoned with, hitting threes and blocking shots and winning games.

But whether or not you remember Senor Garbajosa, you’ve got to love the announcer in this video. He makes Chuck Swirsky seem catatonic by comparison.

I’m happy for Jorge. It’s not often that a Raptor, past or present, is able to get acquainted with the feeling of winning.