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As one of the most recent teams to join the NBA, the Toronto Raptors have managed to have a large amount of success for a squad with less than 25 years under its belt. Though they’ve never won an NBA Championship or made it into the Finals, their recent seasons have earned them 4 division titles and an appearance in the Conference Finals in 2016. The Raptors are sometimes forgotten being the NBA’s only Canadian team, yet they continue to attract talent such as Chris Bosh, DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, and Terrence Ross. Of the 30 teams in the league, the Raptors have one of the highest regular season attendance records, so don’t miss your chance to get home-game tickets at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre.
Alongside the Vancouver Grizzlies, which later relocated to Memphis, the Toronto Raptors began in 1995 as 1 of the 2 new expansion teams to join the NBA. Like most newly formed squads, the Raptors struggled in their early years—that is, until 1998, when they acquired Vince Carter fresh out of North Carolina. Over the next 6 seasons, Carter emerged as a true star in Toronto. He wowed crowds with his leaping ability and rim-rattling dunks, eventually leading the team into 3 straight NBA Playoffs from 2000 to 2002. Unfortunately, with a roster riddled with injuries, the Raptors failed to make significant progress the following 2 seasons, and Carter was eventually traded to the New Jersey Nets.
A year before Carter’s exit, however, the team signed rookie phenom Chris Bosh, who would quickly go on to become the new face of the franchise. After a few years of rebuilding and ending with losing seasons, he and the team finally found their footing. The 2006–07 season saw their greatest success to that point, as they took home the Atlantic Division title and made it to the playoffs for the first time in 4 years. But the good times didn’t last long. Immediately following were 5 losing seasons, including their worst season on record since 1997.
Though the Raptors lost Bosh to the Miami Heat in 2010, the team would go on to sign DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Terrence Ross, and Jonas Valančiūnas over the course of 5 years. Beginning in 2013, they led the team to a 4 season winning streak and 3 straight Atlantic Division championships. In 2016, they made it the furthest they’ve ever been in the NBA Playoffs but eventually lost in the Conference Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Today, under Head Coach Dwane Casey, they continue to hold a high standing in the conference and the hopes of finally bringing a Championship win back to Toronto. Grab tickets to watch them take on rivals like the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks.