Raptors Day has been declared in Toronto. Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly declared it on Monday, May 12, in Nathan Philips Square. He was accompanied by the Raptor mascot, player Greivis Vasquez and head coach Dwane Casey.
The Raptors fans in front of City Hall were greeted by Kelly as he "saluted the Raptors for their 48-win season and playoff run (which ended with a first-round, Game 7 loss to the Brooklyn Nets)," Toronto Sun reported.
"We've been doubting ourselves lately - our static economy, the friction between the downtown and the suburbs, a sense of being overwhelmed by the challenges of our success, the disturbing revelations of our leadership, and the sudden, unexpected onslaught of an aggressive nature haven't ranked these past few years as among our best," Kelly said. "Then along came the Raptors ... first in their conference and in the playoffs. The magic word: Playoffs," he said.
Kelly is the de facto mayor of Toronto at the moment as Mayor Rob Ford is presently on rehab for substance abuse [read HERE]. He said that "the Raptors were Toronto." He saluted the commitment and hard work of the team. He said that it was a common commitment to create a "oneness out of the many." He told Casey that it was his team, but it "became Toronto's team as well." "I want to thank you and the fans for setting this city back on track," he said.
Head Coach Casey, on the other hand, called the Raptors fans "the number one" in the NBA. He said that the fans had made them proud to be part of them. However, he emphasised that the proclamation was not only about the Raptors making the playoffs. It was a means of "congratulations on the first step," he told reporters.
"I'm not satisfied. I've won a championship, I know what that feels like and believe me this is a first step. You've got to start somewhere and that's what these young men have done is started the process. We've got to continue to grow. We've got to continue to get better," Casey said as he looked confident of his team's future.