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04-27-2013, 11:52 AM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Ontario, Canada
Oh hell yes. Tim Chisholm just made me squee hard with this article posted on TSN.
CHISHOLM: LEIWEKE'S CHALLENGE TO MAKE RAPTORS RELEVANT
4/27/2013 12:37:16 AM
Relevancy. It has eluded the Toronto Raptors for nearly twenty years. Even more than competitive basketball, relevancy has been the brass ring that the Raptors have never quite been able to reach.
Oh sure they've gotten close. Vince Carter probably brought the organization closest to the precipice, but after the Slam Dunk competition, 'The Graduation', the injuries and the trade demands, what Carter really made relevant was himself, not his team.
Relevancy is, in a way, an ephemeral concept in the NBA. It implies a certain importance within the grander scheme, a force which moves the narrative of the entire league forward, and the Raptors have simply never operated on that high a plain. For their entire existence the Raptors have been peripheral participants in the NBA universe. At times it's felt as if they were doomed to a second-class status as a club that can play within the league but not move within the rarified air of those that truly define what the NBA is all about. They could participate, but they'd be irrelevant.
Well, Tim Leiweke doesn't dabble in irrelevancy.
Leiweke, the former AEG leviathan, was tapped on Friday to take over as the president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, and he laid out in no uncertain terms that the Raptors - in his view - do not belong on the margins of the NBA. Not with Toronto being the fourth-biggest marketplace in North America and not with Canada representing a massive potential marketplace of 36 million people.
Thus, it was no coincidence that shortly after the Leiweke announcement came a rumour through ESPN.com that the Raptors were considering making a pitch to basketball legend Phil Jackson to come north and run the entirety of their basketball operations.
A move like that would bring relevancy. Big time.
Now, it must be noted that the odds of Jackson actually relocating north are long even in a best-case scenario. While Jackson has made no secret of wanting to emulate Pat Riley's Miami Heat fiefdom with an organization all his own, Toronto would seem an odd place to set up camp, regardless of Leiweke's and Jackson's close ties from their Los Angeles days.
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