Overthinking It: Late Night Thoughts About the Toronto Raptors

Photo credit: Amino Hoops

Something I — along with countless others — have preached for a long time is that the Toronto Raptors are Canada’s team. Unlike the 29 other teams in the NBA, the Raptors represent an entire country, rather than just their home city.

So, late last night I started thinking: if the Raptors represent the North, how come their name doesn’t?

Why are the Raptors… still named the Raptors?

The actual conceptualization of the name seems like it was somewhat of a joke.

Before the team kicked off their inaugural season in 1995, fans were given a shortlist of options to choose from as a way to involve Torontonians in the personalization of the team. One name on the list was “Raptors”.

Now this was right around the same time Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park had been released, which is basically like creating an expansion team now and giving fans an option to pick “Tiger Kings” as the team name.

Every other name on that list didn’t stand a chance.

The List

I will admit, the list of names fans had to choose from wasn’t the best, but wasn’t the worst either. Aside from the eventual winner, the options were:

  • Beavers
  • Bobcats
  • Dragons
  • Grizzlies
  • Hogs
  • T-Rex
  • Scorpions
  • Tarantulas
  • Terriers
  • Towers

It does make sense why “Raptors” was chosen at the time. Other than Grizzlies, which obviously went to Vancouver, there weren’t many better options. Considering the fact that they were riding the pop culture wave, referencing a wildly popular movie at the time, it fit.

But it’s been 26 years now, and having Canada’s only basketball team be represented by a dinosaur just doesn’t really make sense.

They have options

Or really they only have one, but it wouldn’t be that difficult to use “Huskies” full time rather than once or twice a year.

For starters, their colours would match the other major pro sports teams in the city. Every so often we get to see the Raptors play in the same white and blue colours as their friends the Blue Jays and Maple Leafs.

There is some history to the name as well. Before the NBA was even a league, there was the Basketball Association of America, and Toronto had a team. They folded after a year due to lack of interest but the first professional basketball team in Canada was named the Toronto Huskies.

So at least renaming them that wouldn’t be completely out of left field, like naming a team after a movie or something like that.

Make it more Canadian

That’s all I ask.

As a fanbase, we feed off of Canadian representation, why not fully lean into that?

When people think “purple” and “dinosaur” in the same thought, it is almost always about Barney, not an NBA team.

Changing a team’s identity is tough, and most likely unrealistic, but I wouldn’t mind seeing the “Toronto Mounties” or “Geese” on the front of their jerseys next year.

Ok, maybe not the Geese.

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