Dear Kyle Lowry: Goodbye From a Raptors Fan
This is not an easy one to write. Saying goodbye is never easy, but we never thought this day would come, especially in these circumstances.
Where do we even begin? How do we say goodbye to the greatest player to ever throw on a Raptors jersey?
I guess the best way to start is by saying thank you!
Thank you, Kyle Lowry, for always competing, thank you for making us all proud to be Raptors fans, thank you for working hard and showing us all that anything is possible.
Thank you for staying here, when not many others wanted to and most importantly, thank you for bringing us a championship in 2019. It was a moment none of us will ever forget.
Not all of the time you had here was perfect. With every great story, there was adversity, especially in the early days.
The first year in Toronto was a tough one. You admitted it yourself, you had no plans of staying here. After a 34 win season, no one would have blamed you. The Raptors were bleak and an organization that looked lost and had no plan. But in large part because of you, that next year, everything changed.
The 2013-14 season was monumental for the Raptors franchise, and you have a lot to do with it. You, along with your good buddy DeMar DeRozan set a standard for Toronto basketball. You both wanted nothing less than success, and you led by example.
Whether it was taking one of your patented charges in the paint or doing whatever you can to get that bucket, you left your heart out on the court and the City of Toronto took notice.
You led the Raptors to the playoffs for the first time since 2008. It didn’t end the way we all hoped after a crushing game 7 loss to the Brooklyn Nets, but you showed us that this team was beginning a new chapter.
Fast forward to 2016, after a few years of disappointing playoff finishes, you helped lead the Raptors to the Eastern Conference Finals – a place this franchise had never been before. We lost to Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games, but Toronto could not have been more proud of you and the new culture you brought to this team.
Let’s skip forward another couple years. After more disappointing playoff runs, management needed a change. Long time coach Dwayne Casey would get fired and your best friend and fellow fan favourite, DeRozan would get traded.
With some unfortunate dismissals came a new opportunity with Kawhi Leonard joining the squad. You would not let this opportunity go to waste.
This was the season you helped bring a championship to Toronto. The process was complete. The Larry O’Brien trophy found its way north of the border, and none of it would have been possible without you.
After nearly a decade in Toronto, you have become one of the most important people in this city and all of it is earned. You are a true leader and champion. The City of Toronto has been extremely honored to have you.
Hopefully, this is a short goodbye, as we hope to have you back some day. Whether it’s for your jersey retirement, unveiling of your statue in front of Scotiabank Arena, or even as a member of the Raptors again in some capacity.
Whatever it is you do, Toronto always has your back.
Thank you for everything, Kyle.
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