It was one of the proudest moments I have had, as someone who is both a fan, and someone that covers the Toronto Raptors in a long time. DeMar DeRozan is going to New Orleans as an All-Star for the Eastern Conference. I have had the privilege of interacting with DeMar on many occasions since meeting the young man as a wide eyed rookie in Ottawa at his first training camp as a Raptor.
The amounts of times I have praised this young man’s work ethic are documented here in the Dino Nation Blog. He is just a great hard working young man who has made the most of his talent and ability to play the game of basketball. This for me is a moment of celebration that should be celebrated by all.
I was greatly upset by the reaction of a great many Raptors fans online via Twitter. Instead of celebrating the fact a young man that has worked so hard for his entire career for the Raptors and Toronto people focused on the negative of Kyle Lowry not being selected.
I can’t tell you how much this disappointed me. It was more disappointing than morons booing over pizza or quite frankly anything I can recall in covering this team in the Dino Nation Blog. Raptors fans often have complained about how players leave this franchise and the city. Yet a young man that has built his career here and made the decision to sign an extension here becomes the secondary story for people.
He has been everything that Raptors fans have said they want in a player in terms of working hard and being loyal to the fans of this franchise. Yet the focus is a guy that has been here less than two full seasons that got snubbed out of his chance to be an all-star.
There is no doubt that Kyle Lowry has played unbelievable in this season where it benefits him greatly in the last year of his contract. If it was my choice he would be an All-Star as well and a deserving one. However I am not naive enough to not understand what the All-Star Game is to a great extent.
It is a political and popularity based system that selects the All-Stars. The game itself is nothing more than an exhibition to promote the NBA product as a whole. Kyle Lowry has had some rocky experiences with coaches who are the people that vote on the reserves. I would think those rocky experiences hurt him more than a jersey he wears or a city he plays in. Regardless of why it happened, it did happen, and it is unfortunate. Still it never should have over shadowed what DeMar DeRozan has done.
Terrence Ross was also deserving of a slot in the rookie-sophomore game to play along side Jonas Valanciunas. He had earned the right to be part of that game as well. But it did not happen and we can feel upset about that and perhaps slighted by the folks that select those teams. Again it is nothing more than a glorified exhibition game at best.
Will anyone complain if in two years a Raptor makes the ALL-Star Weekend when it is here in Toronto and some maybe more deserving person is cast aside for an event or the game itself. My guess in no, and if that becomes the truth than it is pretty hypocritical. But this is about putting together event that makes for the best entertainment for the NBA as a whole.
I use to be a big supporter of the NBA All-Star Weekend. I have become less of one over the years as I have come to accept the facts of it’s nature and all the politics and popularity aspects of it that enter into the game. Vince Carter was once the leading vote getter for All-Stars for I believe it was 5 years in a row. No one was screaming injustice than when he clearly was not the best player in the NBA. Vince for all his greatness was never a true contender for MVP of the NBA. Maybe in one season he was a dark horse but that is about all.
Which by the way makes those MVP chants for Kyle Lowry seem a tad bit silly. Maybe chant “Stay Kyle Stay” would be a more effective chant at this point. To even suggest Kyle Lowry is an MVP is quite insane. Kevin Durant is doing things that are historic in nature and is on a whole different level from Lowry. I would venture to say that Lowry might not even be the Raptors MVP by the season’s end in comparison to DeRozan. That is a much more even debate and something you can have a legitimate discussion about.
Toronto fans are always complaining about not getting respect for being the knowledgeable and smart basketball fans that they feel they have become. Complaining about how they and the Raptors never get respect that they deserve. Respect is earned and you have to go out and work hard for it ever single day.
DeMar DeRozan has done that and he is an All-Star. Fans chanting about Pizza and making ridiculous claims of MVP for players has not.
Raptors fans are legitimately excited about what has happened with this team this season. They should be and I respect and understand that. However some fans have gone completely over the edge in terms of that excitement and have lost all sense of their logic.
So much so that a young kid that has worked his ass off for them for 5 years and become an All-Star did not get the full respect and love for that accomplishment that he rightfully deserves.
As far as the stuff that matters, the Raptors are in Denver and DeRozan is on the trip but no word yet on if he will suit up tonight in Denver. There are a lot of people to figure out injury wise for the Raptors actually as the head into this game. Enjoy this team for what they are doing but don’t lose sight of reality of things.
The guy you are all so upset hasn’t made the All-Star Game might not even be a Raptor at this time next year. That should be more of a priority or concern to worry about. No amount of outrage is going to change the fact that Kyle Lowry will be able to make a lot of money this off-season and there is no guarantee that he does it here in Toronto. There is also no guarantee that he plays to this level when he has that new contract be it here or elsewhere.
But as I said at the start no amount of stupidity is going to wipe the smile off my face for a young man that I personally am extremely proud of and have always believed in achieving one of his goals as professional basketball player.
So Congratulations DeMar DeRozan you believed in yourself long before a lot of others in the media and in this fan base did. You have earned this moment through your hard work and dedication and I hope this is something you and your family can cherish for the rest of your lives. I also hope it is only the beginning of the next level of your career as a player and growth as man and human being.