5 memorable moments from the Raptors' first round of the playoffs
Toronto Raptors fans cheer in Maple Leaf Square during the opening game of the NBA basketball playoffs between the Raptors and Brooklyn Nets in Toronto, Saturday, April 19, 2014. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese)
Josh Elliott, CTVNews.ca
Published Sunday, May 4, 2014 7:28AM EDT
The Toronto Raptors have had a wild, vulgar, silly and star-studded first round of the NBA playoffs. Whether they win or lose their Game 7 showdown with the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, the Raps made plenty of memories in their return to playoff action.
Here’s a look back at some of biggest non-basketball stories to come out of the matchup.
Call it part of the Raps’ newly-rebranded ‘We the North’ swagger or just a little too much enthusiasm. Either way, Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri made this a memorable series before it even began when he uttered a certain four-letter expletive at a fan rally on Apr. 19, just before Game 1. Ujiri quickly apologized for his salty language, but the NBA still fined him $25,000 for it.
“Mind-boggling” ref comment nets fine for Brooklyn coach
Uriji wasn’t alone in making a costly, off-the-cuff remark: Brooklyn coach Jason Kidd earned a $25,000 fine of his own for criticizing the referees after Game 5 of the series. Kidd said the refereeing was “mind-boggling,” and accused the Raptors of faking fouls to draw calls. “If flopping is the way to go, then we have to maybe play that game.”
The (non) kiss seen ‘round the world
A poor Raps fan got nothing but cheek during Game 5 when he went in to kiss his girlfriend. It was an embarrassing moment made much worse because television cameras caught it, and the snub soon went viral as an animated GIF. The rejected boyfriend, Matt Muszak, got his kiss a few days later at a Raptors fan rally. He kissed girlfriend Sandra on stage in front of a raucous crowd at Maple Leaf Square on Friday.
There was plenty of snark from the Toronto media last fall when the Raptors announced hip-hop star Drake would be their global ambassador. But since that Sep. 30, 2013 announcement, Drake has been front-and-centre for the Raps, helping with their ‘We the North’ rebrand and sitting courtside for their playoff run.
But the Nets have their star fans, too. Rapper and Brooklyn native Jay-Z was on hand for Game 6 with his equally-famous wife Beyoncé. Drake had earlier taken a shot at Jay-Z for missing Game 1, saying he was “somewhere eating a fondue plate." Jay-Z responded with a dig of his own in a recent rap song. And let’s not forget singer Rihanna, who was also at two of the games in Brooklyn. She turned heads at Game 3 with her thin white tank-top, then came to Game 4 sporting camo and a giant rubber hand prop.
Speaking of Drake’s courtside seats, there was no missing him at Game 2 when he whipped out a lint roller mid-game to clean off his pants. The scene went viral so Drake and the Raptors embraced it. When the series returned to Toronto for Game 5, the Raps gave fans their own Drake-branded lint rollers.