The Lowry Era Is Over, But His Legacy Is Cemented
Source: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports
Well, Kyle Lowry is no longer a Toronto Raptor. Let that sink in.
Just two years after the GROAT helped the Raps collect their first championship, Lowry will look to build upon his trophy case in South Beach after a sign-and-trade was completed that sees Toronto recieve Courage Achiuwa and Goran Dragic in return. Lowry himself, despite having to leave the city that has embraced him, will be getting PAID and as a fan you can take solace in the fact that a franchise great will be getting the bread he deserves.
When Lowry first arrived in Toronto he had a rocky start to his career. Whether it was in-fighting with his coaches or teammates, or his weight issues, his reputation was in desperate need of repair. Above all of the issues though was the potential, and luckily for Lowry, the Raptors had nothing but time.
Under Dwane Casey, Lowry started to show real progress. That potential started to blossom into on court success due in large part to Lowry's commitment to the team and his craft. The kinship he formed with Demar Derozan became recognized league wide as the Raptors got better and better. Not only had they become consistent performers in the East, but they also became legit contenders for an NBA championship.
There's no question that this sustained success opened the eyes of many, and helped change the perception surrounding the league's lone Canadian city. I mentioned that the city embraced Lowry, but it turns out he really embraced the city as well. His first all-star nod came here, his first real shot at starting came here, and most importantly, he and the city shared a title both so desperately craved.
Of course, not everything was smooth sailing during Lowry's tenure in Toronto. Despite the aforementioned success, the Raptors were struggling to get over the hump. Year in and year out it seemed as though the Raps were in title contention but Lebron's shadow was to just too large to scrape out of. Unfortunately, with failure comes a need to look inwards, and that meant jobs were lost and key players were traded.
Regardless of the massive changes, one key ingredient remained the same. Lowry. Even as the whole NBA landscape shifted when Kawhi Leonard was brought in, the heart and soul of the team remained in tact. Again, Lowry.
The trade brought them the chip, and Lowry finally had the monkey ripped straight off of his back. He performed well in the finals but more importantly seeing Lowry holding up the Larry OB trophy, you couldn't help but want to give him a standing ovation. Seeing him with his family celebrating made the achievement even more emotional. Lowry was our guy, and he won for us.
In some ways the city of Toronto and Kyle Lowry were castaways in the eyes of the NBA and its fanbase. Lowry was a locker room cancer who lacked discipline, and Toronto was just "that Canadian team". The championship completely transformed the perception of both the player and the city, and through Lowry the fans saw something within themselves.
He was always one of us. He represented the Raptors and the city in a positive way. He loved being here and gave so much love to the fans. I've never witnessed anyone that embraced this city like Lowry did. He was always able to fight and play for the city. He was the workhorse on the team and even in his final season with the Raptors, he still gave it his all despite the lack of success.
With Lowry leaving the city, there is almost an emptiness that comes with his absence. It’s going to be tough to move on given how special that 2019 championship season was. We never got to say farewell to the greatest Raptor ever. His final game as a Raptor was remarkable, a season high 37 points against the defending champions, but it happened away from home.
Lowry is off to Miami and the Raptors will go forward without their leader. Kyle Lowry made this city proud. It's never easy to see a fan favourite leave. “Things end but memories last forever” as they say. Thanks for the memories Kyle.