The Toronto Raptors are going hard after Kevin Durant in trade talks, as his fit with Toronto could be a match made in basketball heaven. While most prognosticators seem to be in on the fit and the package the Nets could receive, consider Chris Broussard skeptical. He came under fire for his comments about the city of Toronto.
On top of the fact he puzzlingly said that American players “can feel” that Toronto is not like most American cities, Broussard struck a nerve when he said that playing in Canada is a “different situation” than African-American players are used to. Broussard and a “pre-Ujiri” source have reportedly wondered if this is why Toronto loses free agents.
Broussard was criticized by all of Raptors fandom for his comments. Former players even got in on going after him. Norman Powell took to Twitter to voice his displeasure, as did Chris Boucher. 2019-20 bench standout Rondae Hollis-Jefferson chimed in as well.
Hollis-Jefferson was one of many to go after Broussard for his comments. Even though he played just one season there, RHJ said that Raptors fans “love you like you grew up there” if you perform well. Hollis-Jefferson ended his salvo by saying that Broussard is “tripping.” Couldn’t agree more.
Toronto Raptors: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ripped Chris Broussard.
We could go chapter and verse about how Broussard’s comments are not representative of the city or the basketball environment. The Raptors have typically been at the forefront regarding inclusivity, so Broussard choosing to die on this hill is a strange choice, to say the least.
Yes, there are tax considerations that players have to take into account. Specific amenities available in America are not available in Canada. That’s no reason to present Toronto or the country of Canada in such a close-minded war. Hollis-Jefferson was not going to let that stand.
Broussard tried to put the genie back in the bottle, at least somewhat. He said that he liked visiting the city, but stopped short of saying he would stay for an extended period. This is straddling the xenophobia line, as it ignores what a beautiful tapestry Toronto can be (especially from the perspective of a star athlete).
Hollis-Jefferson never had the gaudiest statistical numbers in Toronto, but the city and fanbase embraced him for his hard work and personality. These fans will do the same with Durant in spite of the fact that Broussard and his extremely short-sighted takes think it won’t work.