The 2022 NBA Finals concluded last night. The Golden State Warriors won their 4th NBA championship in the last 8 years with a 103-90 victory over the Boston Celtics to win the series 4-2. It was their 7th NBA championship overall, moving them ahead of the Chicago Bulls for the sole owner of 3rd most all-time. I was happy for the Warriors, who essentially rebuilt after a couple of injury-plagued seasons to claim the title. It reminded me of my beloved Raptors in a way. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: the Raptors winning the NBA championship.
How I first came across this moment? I was watching the game live on ABC.
What it meant to me then? It was arguably one of my best moments as an NBA fan. Only once before had an NBA team I rooted for reached the final series of the season and that team doesn’t exist anymore. I was beyond myself elated when the final horn rang and the screen read “Toronto Raptors—2019 NBA Champions”. Having seen the team be vanquished by LeBron James in each of the previous 3 seasons, I was relieved to finally be on top of the NBA world. It felt sweet to dethrone the 2-time defending champs in the process…whether they were without Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson or not.
What it means to me now? Some 3 years later, I still relish the championship. It was the opening of the floodgates for me: the Dodgers won the World Series the next year, the Buckeyes made it to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, the Rams won the Super Bowl in February, and the Kansas Jayhawks won the men’s basketball national title in April. It all started with the Raptors winning the NBA title 3 summers ago. I’ll always be fond of that moment. The only thing that could’ve made it better was DeMar DeRozan leading the team to the chip.