Toronto Has Raptors Fever, City Ready to Host First NBA Finals Game

TORONTO -- A city in love.

A Finals run has become old hat for the Bay Area locals. While there is passion, rings and Championship parades are expected, not a mere dream.

Raptors fans started lining up early on Thursday for the team's first NBA Finals game in franchise history. They arrived so early, the team caged in the group in hopes of controlling the tens of thousands expected outside the arena in what is known as Jurassic Park.

These fans aren't even part of the 20,000 paying customers that will pack Scotiabank Arena for the 9pm EST tip off.

Toronto is alive with Raptors mania. You can't walk five feet down a crowded sidewalk without spotting a Kawhi Leonard or Kyle Lowry jersey.

Hundreds of fans lined the streets seven or eight rows deep to boo the Warriors as they came out their team hotel and loaded into the team bus. To the casual passerby, it looked like Elvis was about to make an appearance, or at least Canadian legend Bryan Adams.

Cars draped with giant purple flags could be seen on the street. Even a former player showed up to support the city that cheered him on in the past.

"Man, it means a lot, the history of the game, the history of the organization, the Raptors, being a former Raptors, it's just awesome to participate and be a part of it and support the guys on the court now," former player Jerome Williams told NBC Sports Bay Area as he stood outside the arena.

Known as the Junkyard Dog, Williams played parts of four seasons in Toronto from 2000-2004. He was a relentless player and a huge fan favorite.

"It would be ground breaking," Williams added as fans chanted "JYD! JYD! JYD!". "Championship trophies are hard to come by. And when you win one, that's a lot of respect. For years and years, it's a lot of respect."

Outside a sea of fans are expected to watch the action on huge television screens in an open courtyard. The team handed out red Raptor backpacks filled with rally towels and google mini's.

Inside the arena, every seat is covered with a black Raptors t-shirt.

Win or lose, expect Toronto to enjoy the ride. They've waited 24 years to host a NBA Finals game and it's clear the city has Raptors fever.

Copyright CSNBY - CSN BAY
Contact Us