The Toronto Raptors officially opened their 2021-22 season at Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday night with a disappointing loss to the Washington Wizards. While fans welcomed their new young and exciting squad, it felt like something - or, someone - was missing.
That someone is Kyle Lowry, longtime Raptors point guard and newest addition to a star-studded Miami Heat team, who tip off their season at home on Thursday night.
Ahead of his debut with his new club, Lowry sat down with the New York Times’s Jonathan Abrams to talk about his departure from Toronto and his new beginnings. The 35-year-old addressed the young core he left behind on the Raptors, and how he expects them to take the mantle and lead the franchise back to prominence.
“Freddy, OG, Pascal, now they have to take the interviews, and they have to do all the media. Because I’m the guy who was like, ‘Yo, it’s on me,’” . “They have to take the criticism, and that’s what’s going to help them grow. I want them to be the All-Stars. I want them to be the champions again. I want them to get opportunities to create generational wealth.”
Lowry spent nine of his 16 NBA seasons in Toronto, earning all of his six All-Star nominations with the Raptors, as well as a championship in the year after team president Masai Ujiri traded DeMar DeRozan, Lowry's best friend, for eventual Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.
He learned from that moment.
Lowry's decision to leave the Raptors after 2020's pandemic season and sign with the Miami Heat to pursue another championship in the twilight of his career didn't come lightly. He used the opportunity to connect with the team and make sure they did right by each other.
“We all mutually agreed that it was time,” he told Adams. “It’s hard to put into words. It was just time. For me, I knew with Miami it was the right situation, right timing, right place, right people, right everything.”
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