Kyle Lowry: The North Philly kid who championed “We The North”

Toronto Raptors, Kyle Lowry (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors, Kyle Lowry (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

North Philadelphia, colloquially called North Philly, is a working class section in the City of Brotherly Love. Media moguls such as Meek Mill and Kevin Hart call it home. North Philly is also the birthplace of NBA legends like Rasheed Wallace, and the greatest Toronto Raptors player of all-time, Kyle Lowry.

With a poverty rate above 45%, North Philly’s environment is the perfect breeding ground for the development of distrust. Aside from his family, trusting people could result in Lowry’s demise or death, making it a daunting task to truly trust others.

Similar to Wallace and his record-breaking single-season technical fouls—Lowry’s deep-seated trust issues could help to explain the troubles that followed him early in his career. Lowry himself has even admitted that for most of his life, “trust has been hard for me to give.

Lowry’s instituted distrust in others is a telltale of how one’s upbringing can impact their professional career. In fact, 2012 was a critical juncture in Lowry’s profession, as his relationship with then-Rockets head coach Kevin McHale was hanging by thin threads.

Kyle Lowry had a tough road before the Raptors

As their marriage deteriorated, so did Daryl Morey’s patience in executing a trade, expediting what was already deemed inevitable.

Obstructed by an occupational fork-in-the-road, Lowry opted to inhibit his instinct and ignore his intuition by doing the unthinkable—entrusting in others. Destiny as we know it was shaped by a draft pick, with the grime and greed of notorious New York Knicks owner James Dolan changing the fate of the Raptors franchise forever.

Lowry’s start with the Raptors was far from easy, and frankly marred with volatility. The team was abysmal, perennially clustered at the cellar of the NBA. Eventually, Lowry began to trust his coaches, his teammates (especially best friend DeMar DeRozan), the franchise, and its’ fanbase. That trust would flourish into unfathomable success for the team monikered, “We The North”.

Lowry’s prowess on the court has grown alongside the fanbase that adores him. Since Lowry has joined the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment conglomerate, Canadian NBA viewership has doubled 54% per season. This exponential growth in interest has ushered in the current “Golden Era” of Canadian basketball, with a record 17 Canadians holding NBA roster spots.

Never Forget Your Roots

Lowry’s game transformed into the true ethos of “We The North”; cold, tough, and relentless. As such, he permeated that philosophy throughout, leading the Raptors to their first-ever NBA title in 2019, and Canada’s first “Big Four” championship in 26 years. Even at the epitome of his excellence, Lowry never forgot where he came from.

The indelible impact North Philly has had on Lowry is visible in many aspects of his life—but particularly apparent on the court. That blue-collar, gritty, grinder attitude that is embedded into his community has transferred and transcended Lowry into NBA royalty.

More recently, Lowry has practiced unwavering loyalty—amid swirling rumors of his imminent departure. He posted an Instagram story stating, “The lies people tell in the Media are amazing. Don’t put (things) out when they ain’t come from me!”

When Lowry’s career in Toronto comes to a close, the annals of Raptors’ history will be forever etched with the Bulldog of Bay Street. The question that now begs itself is—just how soon will this closure be?

If the stars align accordingly, the Raptors are poised for a perennial run into the playoffs. What is mystifying however, is whether they will be led by a familiar face in Lowry, or are we witnessing a true changing of the North?

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