MANILA, Philippines – The entire nation of Canada celebrated the Toronto Raptors’ first-ever NBA championship on Monday, June 17 (Tuesday, June 18, Philippine time).
More than a million people flocked to downtown Toronto to join in the Raptors’ revelry almost a week after an emotional Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals. At the cost of the Golden State Warriors’ three-peat title bid, the Raptors became the first-ever non-US team to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy.
Certainly a celebration of that magnitude on Canadian soil would not be complete without the country’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who dove right into the action with his constituents.
Although an unfortunate shooting incident occurred – which left 4 people injured – Trudeau said it won’t take away the spirit of the parade
. @JustinTrudeau says his kids got him into the #Toronto Raptors. Xavier, & daughter, Ella grace joined him at the @Raptors #NBA Championship Rally They told @GregRoss17 their favorite Raptors: Xavier: Danny Green & Ella-Grace: Fred VanVleet #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/gaqndj9pCW — Jaro Giesbrecht (@JaroGiesbrecht) June 18, 2019
But the people of Toronto clearly know who doesn’t deserve a spot amid their celebration, and they let the Premier of Ontario Doug Ford know all about it.
Raptors fans booed the crap out of Doug Ford lmaooooooooo pic.twitter.com/OCiZGZMi4y — William Lou (@william_lou) June 17, 2019
Ford angered the locals after voting against the construction of a Raptors practice facility at no cost to the city. On Tuesday as he faced the public, he eventually paid the price.
Still, everyone was clearly in a jovial mood, but none more so than two-time Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, who quite literally had the last laugh.
Kawhi Leonard ends his speech with the laugh that won over the hearts of every @Raptors fan pic.twitter.com/rCrM5F4ULa — TSN (@TSN_Sports) June 17, 2019
His social (and basketball) skills have certainly grown by leaps and bounds, and people are loving him all the more for it.
Kawhi laughs last. #NBAFinals https://t.co/4jGHXqgnEo — Conor Byrnes (@cpbyrnes) June 14, 2019
Why Kawhi Leonard laugh like he never tried it before pic.twitter.com/8h9RbEdeNG — Heavenly (@HeavenlyControl) June 8, 2019
Of course, averaging 30.5 points in the playoffs and bringing the championship in his first year with the team also helped.
However, some loved him too much to the point where they don’t even notice that “Kawhi” shrunk a foot shorter.
A fake #KawhiLeonard is taking selfies and signing autographs for #Raptors fans before the parade in #Toronto today #WeTheNorth #WeTheNorthDay pic.twitter.com/rJndwhAsPN — blogTO (@blogTO) June 17, 2019
Fake superstars aside, that day was certainly one that Canada will cherish for all time.
How the @Raptors parade looks from the air #WeTheNorthDay pic.twitter.com/LU2aInKgOp — Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) June 17, 2019
Champion guard Kyle Lowry said it best, "Every time we see it, it gets prettier."
The @raptors board the buses for their 2019 NBA Championship Parade... live on @nbatv, https://t.co/Pqxh2EPubW & the NBA app! pic.twitter.com/TBm8CTNAFQ — NBA (@NBA) June 17, 2019