The Toronto Raptors may not be regarded as a “big market” team by the rest of the NBA due to the geographical challenges the league’s lone Canadian team, but that doesn’t erase the fact that Toronto has established itself as one of most ravenous fanbases in the game.
Even as the Raptors make puzzling decision after puzzling decision in their inability to pick a direction, Scotiabank Arena remains packed to the brim consistently. Former Raptors guard, current 76ers shooter, and 2019 champion Danny Green is very appreciative of this fanbase and the effort they make.
In an appearance on Theo Pinson’s “Run Your Race” podcast (in which Green had already gone deep into the Kawhi Leonard shot and what he was thinking at the time), he took some time to shout out the people who show up every day and make this group one of the most unique and tight-knit in the league.
Green said that Toronto’s fanbase is comparable to that of the Los Angeles Lakers, adding they are the only team in the league that can be put in that tier. Green cites the fact that he finds Raptors fans all over the US and is blown away by the idea of an entire country supporting one team.
Danny Green compares the Toronto Raptors fanbase to the Lakers.
Toronto under Masai Ujiri has done as good of a job as possible when it comes to building a consistent winner amid all of the negative factors around them. Through strong drafting, (generally) retaining many of their stars, and swinging trades at the right time, Toronto has become a sterling franchise.
The “small market” misnomer has to drive fans to an unconscionable fury, as Toronto is one of the biggest cities in North America and has consistently fostered extremely passionate fanbases in three different sports. How many more player testimonials are needed before the rest of the NBA realizes this?
Just a few decades ago, there were legitimate questions about the viability of putting a team in Toronto. Thanks to their constant success and players like Green vouching for the city, slowly (but surely) the Raptors are starting to get more mainstream.