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Old 04-24-2014, 09:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Raptors fans are elite

Five nights in to the 2014 NBA Playoffs, Toronto gets the award for best home fans so far.

For Games 1 and 2 against the Brooklyn Nets, Raptors fans inside and outside the Air Canada Centre behaved like a great sports crowd should. They were passionate, aggressive, supportive, spontaneous, and above all, loud.

This is a rare occurrence in North American sports, where pumped-in arena music, jumbotron-prompted chants and Kiss Cam rule the day.

From the pre-game introductions in Game 1, Raps fans set the tone by berating the Nets’ Kevin Garnett with fervent chants of “KG sucks” just because. He has never played against them in a playoff series before, but they hate him with a passion all the same. Raps fans (with a helping hand from Masai Ujiri) have given this matchup the feeling of a rivalry when no such thing exists – an impressive feat.

At the end of the Game 1 loss, Brooklyn’s Paul Pierce did his usual headband toss into the crowd as he walked into the tunnel. The difference this time? Instead of keeping the sweaty game-worn accessory as a souvenir piece to sell on eBay, Raps fans threw it straight back at him:
Indeed, they have a sense of humor up north.

But the lasting take-away from the two games has to be the overall energy and noise created.

At one point early in the second quarter of Game 1, players could not hear the ref’s whistle because of the din the fans were creating. When the Raps tied the series in Game 2, the energy in the building and in Maple Leaf Square was comparable to a championship-winning celebration in some cities.

Very rarely do you see thousands of fans turn up to an NBA arena to watch the game on a big screen outside. Raps fans did so twice in four days – waving towels, getting drunk and screaming their heads off at every big play:
Raps fans are extra thirsty for success having not been in the postseason since 2008 and it shows, but make no mistake: they have always had this in them.

Despite only making it out of the first round once in their existence, they have always ranked relatively high in attendance. Last season was their fifth straight year posting a losing record, yet they finished 13th in attendance. And they have always been boisterous when given something to cheer about (or against).

Anyone who watched Vince Carter’s first game back in Toronto after joining the Nets will remember the vociferous boos aimed his way and the creative anti-Vince outfits on the display.
Toronto Raptors fans are elite (and Oklahoma City Thunder fans are not) | NBA Observer

Last edited by jeffb; 04-24-2014 at 10:10 PM.
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