For fans of the Toronto Raptors, an era came to an end on Monday.
It was reported by Yahoo Sports senior NBA writer Vincent Goodwill that Raptors legend Kyle Lowry inked a three-year deal with the Miami Heat in a sign-and-trade with Toronto.
Lowry spent nine years in Toronto and his impact on the franchise and its fan base was immeasurable. The six-time all-star helped usher in the most successful run in Raptors history which culminated in an NBA championship in 2019.
He leaves the organization as the all-time leader in assists (4,277), three-pointers (1,518), steals (873), and triple-doubles (16).
His impact on the city extended far beyond the court, and Mayor John Tory's statement illustrated that sentiment perfectly.
— John Tory (@JohnTory) August 3, 2021
Our city has gone through a lot over the past year, but this one really hurts
Kyle Lowry is the Greatest Raptor of All Time. Everyone knows that.
He has the stats to back it up: all-time leader in assists, steals, three-pointers made, and playoff wins. But it's more than that. He showed our city who we want to be. The fighter. The leader. The player who's got your back and leads the charge. Who takes the charge. Who falls down and gets back up. Again and again.
Kyle Lowry earned Toronto a championship by setting the tone, refusing to lose, and leading by example. Over nine incredible years of fight and perseverance and joy, he brought us to our feet and made us believe.
Like Kyle, Toronto is not the tallest, not the most athletic, not the fanciest, but we play hard and we win. Nothing stops us because we have heart. And we value heart.
Kyle Lowry showed us how to win, but also how to treat our friends, elevate our teammates, celebrate our children and the joy they bring us. He stood up for what's right and called out injustice and Anti-Black racism. He was a role model for many and an inspiration to all of us.
He is the player who works harder than anyone, on and off the court. And I want to thank him for the joy and pride he brought Toronto, for being there when Masai [Ujiri] needed a friendly face to pull him onto the court where he belonged, and for providing for Toronto families who needed some extra help, through his Lowry Love Foundation.
Kyle Lowry united the Raptors and Toronto, and made a whole country cheer. He will be missed but he will not be forgotten And trust me: when it's safe, he will be celebrated.
I'm confident that one day when the time is right, just as we have celebrated other great players from our other great championship teams, there will be a statue celebrating his legacy in our city.
Kyle, we will compete hard against you to win. But we will always love you and Toronto will always welcome you. Thank you Kyle Lowry.
Even Champagne Papi himself, Drake, took to Instagram to recognize the ex-Raptor for his contributions.
Drake pays tribute to Kyle Lowry on Instagram pic.twitter.com/jTs7joM2wN
— Kris Pangilinan (@KrisReports) August 3, 2021
Along with the mayor and Drizzy, loads of Raptors and basketball fans took to Twitter to celebrate Lowry's career in Toronto, including Drake.
From North Philly, to our city 🙌
Thank you Kyle Lowry pic.twitter.com/Sb1awOlRMR
— Yahoo Sports Canada (@YahooCASports) August 2, 2021
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 2, 2021
Kyle Lowry as a raptor
-6x All star
-All Nba 3rd team
-601 games played
-20,813 minutes played
-2,270 ft made
-1,518 3 pointers made
Greatest Raptor Of All Time pic.twitter.com/DXzkUqSYWM
— Scottie Stan ⁶𓅓 ❄️ (@ScottieHours) August 2, 2021
Thanks for the memories Kyle Lowry 👑 Forever a Toronto Raptor pic.twitter.com/WgP17qo4bX
— kishan (@_kishanmistry) August 2, 2021
— J.E. Skeets (@jeskeets) August 2, 2021
Lowry hasn't released a statement addressing Toronto yet, but he seems really happy to be heading to Miami.
While no longer part of the team, Lowry will always have a spot in Raptors fans' hearts.
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