It was as if he had never left.
Kyle Lowry carried the same bravery as he walked through the bowels of the Scotiabank Arena and took his seat in front of a busier-than-usual media gathering at the Toronto Raptors. For him, it was home. The Miami Heat banner that hung behind him might have been different, but otherwise, it all felt the same.
1. Feels like home
There was a special feeling for Laurie when he landed in Toronto after a short flight from Chicago.
“Driving in Gardiner and seeing all the different points, seeing the CN Tower, driving through OVO, seeing the BMO field and all that stuff. It was like, damn, that’s crazy. It’s home, where I’ve been for a long, long time. So it was great.”
His kids came in earlier in the week and have spent the past few days seeing friends. Laurie said they were initially reluctant to leave Toronto as he spent the greater part of their lives growing up, but have since settled in Miami.
“They wear shorts and T-shirts every day,” he joked.
2. Pride in birds of prey
The Raptors’ success this season may come as a surprise to some outside the organization, but Lowry wasn’t shocked by how well the team has performed this year.
“They have Freddy, Pascal, OJ, Gary Trent Jr., Scotty Barnes, Nick Nurse. These guys are heroes, they’re competitors, they’re guys with chips on their shoulders. They’re guys. These guys I wouldn’t expect anything less from what they do.”
The group may be at the start of their championship window as the 2013-14 Raptors led Lowry and DeMar DeRozan to the playoffs for the first time, but Lowry said this team is much better than that ever precarious group.
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He said, “We just ended up fighting and getting better as the season went on. These guys are really good. They’re different, they’re athletic, they play hard, they’re smart. Nick has done a great job,” he said. . “We had a year out, Toronto had halted a year of qualifying, and last year was weird, but they’re back where they expected them to be.”
3. Laurie is ready to see his record 3-point fall
Fred Vanfleet sits just two of three throws shy of tying Lowry’s one-season franchise record for most three-pointers and the 36-year-old veteran guard said he’s ready to see his pupil knock him off the record books.
“That’s one conversation we had, he’d want ‘Brother, you took everything you did in that first bootcamp, move your foot, how do you do it, how do you do it,'” and even a couple of summers ago we got to work outside together, said Lowry. We were talking about, he asked me how to do this and that. I know, I’ve been keeping as many as he needs, and I’m looking forward to cracking it.” “It would be great if that happened tonight, listen if he does that tonight, great, as long as I win.”
“But I’m actually looking forward to that moment. And if that happens tonight, it would be great for me to be able to give him a warm welcome like everyone else in the crowd.”
4. Laurie is happy to leave the Birds of Prey
Laurie’s departure from Toronto seems to have worked for everyone. He looks happy in Miami and thinks he has a chance to chase another episode and the Raptors have ushered in a new era that wouldn’t have been possible had he been still with the organization.
“It’s because of the respect I’ve earned, but it’s also the relationship I’ve had with the Masai organization, Bobby, Larry, the Raptors. We were all in conversations at all times about everything. And they looked at me like, ‘Listen, I helped build this thing,'” And we’d never, ever respect you in any way,” and I felt the same way,” Laurie said. “It was the right time. It was like a good phasing out naturally, in…the next one, OK. And that’s for Freddy, Pascal, and the OG to take their next steps.”
5. Continuing the culture of birds of prey
Lowry may be gone, but his stamp on the Raptors continues the way Vanfleet leads the team as a tough little guard.
“He’s the shortest player on the team,” Lowry said. “It’s definitely (the mentality). It’s definitely a lot of Freddy’s stubbornness, a bet on yourself, no doubt about anything you do.” “You know that’s exactly what a leader does: the team takes character. And that’s what he’s been doing for the last couple of years. Now was his chance to be the man and he’s doing it at a high level. It’s pretty cool to watch.”
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