19,000 + fans jumped out of their seats yesterday as they watched Pops Mensah-Bonsu throw down his 3rd dunk of the day. You see, Toronto Raptor fans have been involved in a game of Tug-of-War with the team over the past year. Being a fan is all about give and take and the team hasn’t been giving them much to cheer for. These days more often than not,the fans in the stands are heard booing the home team and cheering visiting players.
It was about a year ago that Chris bosh called out the fans in a video asking them to get behind the team and in return he received his fair share of backlash. What gives the player the right to tell the fan’s how to react at the game? Raptor fans have been bashed around the league for lacking basketball knowledge, cheering the visiting team and on most nights chanting for pizza in a loss but one thing no one ever should question is the passion of these Raptor fans… just ask Bill Simmons or Charlie Rosen.
Keeping the core intact, Bryan Colangelo pulled off some risky moves in the off-season that were to help the team get to the next level – GM FAIL! Luckily, its never been about winning or losing but rather about heart and hustle that will rally Raptor fans to get behind the team. Call it “The Hockey Mentality” or whatever – Toronto fans can bring it… they have proven it in the past. The talent may be lacking from this team, but more so on any given night there is no passion displayed by the team to win and I can’t help but point my finger right back at the leader of the team for setting examples. The same guy who called out the fans for not getting behind the team has me questioning what he has brought to that team this year. In the 30+ games atended this season there has not been a single instance where I was convinced that Bosh was trying his hardest. There are lots of excuses – Olympics, injuries and off nights but bottom line you want us to cheer? give us a reason to do so. This is not the worst season record wise for the Toronto Raptors in their short history, but this is the first time as a fan I felt I was being robbed by the team.
All these thoughts went through my mind as I cheered through the game v/s the Indiana Pacers yesterday at the Air Canada Center. I have not seen that much hurt being put on a rim at the ACC by the home team since the days of #15. There have been games the Raptors had no business winning and some they threw away but on this day the fans rose from their seats not for the dunk or the win, but for the man who gave us a reason to cheer. In no way do I think Pops is the “Messiah” and will lead the Raptors to go 15-0 for the rest of the season, but for one day I walked out of the arena smiling knowing that the game of tug of war had been called off (for now!!).