Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse is a fan favourite in the NBA

Toronto Raptors - Nick Nurse (Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Nick Nurse (Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Since becoming the Head Coach of the Toronto Raptors last summer, Nick Nurse has provided many entertaining moments on the sideline. He truly is a fan favourite in the NBA.

For a team like the Toronto Raptors, sometimes it’s hard to become the center of attention in the NBA, even once you win your first-ever NBA championship. Sometimes it matters, sometimes it doesn’t.

For someone like Nick Nurse, head coach of the Toronto Raptors, it probably doesn’t matter all that much. He’s his own man. Maybe that’s why he’s become a favourite among NBA coaches in the league since his arrival.

Beforehand, Nurse was well-versed and well-traveled, spending time overseas in the British Basketball League as well as the G-League with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Success has followed him around the globe, but it’s his personality that has helped him stick out in a pool of vibrant, and sometimes melodramatic coaches.

Nurse has built a reputation for, what feels like, the deep and meaningful approach to life. Seriously, how many other NBA coaches carry an acoustic guitar from game to game, and city to city?

The answer won’t shock you unless this is your first rodeo. It’s zero.

Nick Nurse is the cool uncle or dad at all the parties, or just at life in general. There’s a carefree elegance about him that is so enticing. Yet, the fact of the matter is, Nurse knows when – and how – to get down to business.

He really put his star on the NBA map at the beginning of this years NBA playoffs. The Raptors were in Orlando for Game 4 of the first round, taking on the Orlando Magic and leading the series 2-1. That’s when it happened.

A three-second violation prompted a reaction from Nick Nurse which instantly became a viral hit. A wide-mouthed, jaw-to-the-floor gaze in reaction to the call. Nurse couldn’t believe it, and the fans couldn’t believe what they were seeing. His reaction lasted for, what felt like, an eternity.

11 seconds. That really is an eternity when a camera is fixated on one person.

It’s not just the fans that love him though, you can see the interactions between Nurse and his players. There’s a mutual respect there. Nurse recounted on an edition of the “Lowe Post” that upon returning to the team following the death of his mom, Kyle Lowry vowed the team would win the championship for her. He wasn’t wrong.

He’s not the prototypical NBA head coach. You won’t see many other NBA coaches leading the 7th-inning stretch at a Chicago Cubs game, nor will you see them shredding the guitar on stage with Arkells after winning the Raptors first-ever NBA championship.

That’s Nick Nurse in a nutshell, though. It’s hard to really define it other than just saying that’s who he is. He’s the fun-loving, hard-working NBA coach who the Raptors needed after the Dwane Casey era.

The transition from the grit-and-grind, isolation-heavy style of play of Casey to the free-flowing, pass-heavy offense of Nick Nurse was an easy pill to swallow. He actively made the team better and was touted as the man that begun the Raptors offensive renaissance two years ago. One year into taking over the team as his own and the transition was complete.

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Delivering the Raptors their first-ever NBA championship made Nurse a fan favourite in the eyes of millions across Canada. The world of basketball owes Nurse a huge debt. For the laughs, the love, the commitment, and the championship.