The Toronto Raptors are the NBA Champions. THE TORONTO RAPTORS ARE THE NBA CHAMPIONS. For the first time in NBA history, a Canadian team is the NBA CHAMPION. The all caps are necessary. I lost my chill around 11:48 PM Eastern Standard Time last night, when MVP Kawhi Leonard made the final two free throws of this phenomenal, seemingly implausible storybook season to lead the Toronto Raptors to a 114-110 win over the Golden State Warriors — so did the entire city. In a country used to the cold, there was zero chill left in the entire nation. If you were lucky enough to be in Toronto last night, you may have heard the honks and screams of victory. So many honks. So many screams. Dundas Square was packed, Jurassic Park was like a scene from a disaster movie, but like, a happy one starring Drake. Celebrations rang from Mississauga to Montreal to Halifax. Who says this isn’t a basketball country?
It was the ending sports pundits said would never happen, and fans only dared to dream was possible. It was 24 years in the making. All those years of heartbreak after heartbreak, devastating seasons and missed game-winners lead to a nail-biting Game 6 that The Raptors won in classic Toronto fashion: scrappy, full of heart, and down to the wire. The anxiety of those final moments just made the victory that much sweeter, and the partying that much louder. Until the wee hours of the morning, fans celebrated the Raptors’ NBA championship from coast to coast. Not everyone partied responsibly — there was at least one arrest and a few vandalized police vehicles — but for the most part, Canadians stayed on brand and kept their festivities crime-free. As a lifelong fan who would absolutely flip a car for Kyle Lowry, I kept my excitement in check and settled for sobbing in a bar and tweeting exclamation points instead of screaming in the streets.
If you want to see how the rest of the country celebrated, here’s a roundup of some of the best fan reactions to the Raptors’ historic win.