Toronto – The Toronto Raptors Training Center was uncomfortable tight Tuesday morning, and it was just the beginning.
On Wednesday, ESPN will only be Canada's only NBA team for a full day of exclusive coverage leading up to the network. The National Telavized Game between the Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers at 8p.m. That evening.
With Toronto all-access – as they call it – less than 24 hours away, the worldwide leaders in sports took over the raptors' gym. Situated around the facility, multiple camera bursts captured player arrivals and shot parts of four. Calle Laurie has been working with Rachel Nichols for an interview that will be released on Wednesday's edition of The Jump. It was a scene.
"It is weird, man," said Raptors forward Pascal Syakam. "It's a weird, I'm not used to it, it's a bit different." "Yes, it's a little different, that's all I'll say." I'm always used to come and it's a bit Cameras, but it's about it, so it's a bit different. "
The raptors have never come a long way from the team that had four straight seasons without playing a single game on US. It. National TV before the decade. In fact, the following Chris Bosh's expedition in 2004, Toronto is only scheduled for four national television games in a 10-year span.
Even during the recent run – the best in franchise history, with five straight playback platforms, a finale conference finale, and a record record of 59-win time last year – they can only make moderate gains in that regard.
It was something of a rallying call for the team and its players. There is even the very popular tablet of the genus, the North. Despite their success – all the wins, their two all-stars, Lowry and Dymar Drozan, and rabid fan base – they still felt they were overlooked. Why not get on ESPN – what has a programming content partnership with TSN or TNT more than once a couple of times? Why did not they play a Christmas day game in 17 years? Why are not they a regular topic of discussion in the United States?
As the raptors prepare for their long awaited close-up, it's not difficult to see the progress they've made or what they do. That's what the best record in the NBA and the presence of a true superstar will do. Wednesday's game is one of 15 that Toronto will play on US. It. National TV this season – The most the team was scheduled for since the winner Carter era (2001-02). Call it the Cavhi Leonard Effect.
Suddenly, it is impossible to ignore the raptors.
"For me, we have to build a brand that is worth talking about," said the president of the press Masai Udiri.
It is his mission since the moment he took over in 2013 and is the primary motivation behind a cruel summer of business that saw him fire long-time head coach Dwayne Cassi and trade a franchise cornerstone in Drosan. You can see the disdain in Udiri's eyes every time the raptors are not mentioned among the NBA's elite organizations. It shines to him, but he understands the nature of the business. To get respect you have to pay respect. More than ever before, his team is in a position to do it.
"We can not just complain and complain," he said. "I think the guys are worth it, they're playing, they're not showing, we do not want to make noise with any substance." "If we look in the last few years, I think we should [have gotten] On National TV [more]. We have more this year, and our hope is to continue. But it starts with the team and how well we do. "
These days are great for Ejiri and the raptors all around. Giants of Africa, Ujiri's not-for-profit organization, will host its annual gala to celebrate and honor the life of Nelson Mandela on Tuesday evening. The raptors will continue to grow the late South Africa President and Nobel Peace Prize winner during Wednesday's game, which will play on a Mandela 100 themed site.
As for the game itself, it is not likely to disappoint. The young and talented 76ers come in one of the hottest teams. They won 17 games – second only to the raptors – including four in a row and eight of their last nine.
Joel embedded a MVP-Caliber beginning to the time, Safroore Ben Simmons was nearly averaging a triple-double, and the newly acquired Jimmy Butler was all Sixers fans had hoped he would have already made an impact on both ends of the Floor and hitting clutch late-game rating.
This will be the first chance of the raptors to try out against the new look of 76ers, a team that thinks they are ready to challenge them in the east.
"I think we've got two really similar themes tomorrow in similar situations, both playing good, high aspirations," said Raptors Head Coach.
"They are definitely better [with Butler] And I think he gives them just a bit higher level of swag. They radiate a little more than they expect to hit you, and if they have no problems they throw him the ball and he makes a basket for them. Or, [if] They have a matchup they can not watch, he goes and guards it for them. That's what big players do, we have one of the guys [in Leonard] And I think it helps our makeup and feel. "
So far, the raptors have focused well on the spotlight this season. They are 2-1 in US. It. National televised games, with a couple of big wins – a decisive victory over the Celtics in October and last week's transition thriller against the Warriors – and a loss of loss in Boston last month.
Nurse noticed some peps in his team's step by step on Tuesday, despite suffering a tough loss to Denver the night before. It is difficult not to excite all the cameras around, all the extra attention. Naturally, guys will remove the importance of the games, but they mean something.
If nothing else, there are simply more eyes on them. That means each player will almost certainly have family and friends watching what do not normally get to see them playing. It also means that, even though it's just one game, the result can dramatically transform the perception of a team.
Finally, the raptors are the attention they've been clamoring for, but they are still out to prove they deserve it.
"I think that's what the whole country wants, just to be respected or what may be," said Syamam said. "But at the end of the day, it just shows that we are good, we are winning." I think that's the most important thing, and I think that's how we win respect is by winning and going so far as we can. "
"Hey, we've been good before and not [gotten to] Be on [national] TV, "said Lori." It's that. Honestly, it's that. Listen, we appreciate it. But we've got to play basketball. We can not worry about, we ' Go to TV. "We have to go to play, and we have to win the game."