Raptors pride has never been stronger in the City of Toronto, and it shows.
Ever since the NBA team won the title of Eastern Conference champions on Saturday night, the city has come alive with tributes to the beloved team. The Toronto sign in Nathan Phillips Square lit up in red and black, fans have been repping Raps paraphernalia non-stop, and plenty of people have lined up to take a photo in front of the now-famous Kawhi Leonard mural inside a Queen West shop.
But now, as the first game of the NBA Finals draws near, a new mural in honour of the King of the North (a.k.a. Kawhi) has been unveiled in Regent Park.
Jah is the same artist who added Raptors stars Demar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry to Graffiti Alley in 2016 after the team made the Eastern Conference finals.
If the Raptors win the NBA Finals, Jah told BlogTO that they might add Lowry to the wall in Regent Park as well.
This isn’t the first mural to pop up in the city in honour of the Toronto Raptors. Consignment store OD Toronto was the first to catch the public’s attention with their 30-foot wall art of Kawhi. The Queen West shop initially plastered a photo of the star player on their exterior in anticipation of Game 5 against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The image — which is not actually painted on, but made of weather-proof vinyl — was then changed to an image of Kawhi making his epic buzzer-beater shot against the 76ers in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
But the store didn't stop there. Inside is where they put up the now-famous mural of Kawhi squatting as he anxiously watches his shot. The mural has quickly become a tourist attraction in Toronto, and even drew Snoop Dogg to the store.
“Whether or not we win this series or not, we want to create something iconic,” OD's co-owner Tetra told BlogTO in regards to the murals.
On Thursday, ahead of Game 1 of Raptors vs. Warriors, OD Toronto revealed a brand new mural outside their store. In place of Kawhi is now a giant collage of the Raptors, including a small cameo by coach Nick Nurse and Drake.
The shop also replaced their interior wall of Kawhi with one of the star player dunking on Giannis Antetokounmpo, of the Milawukee Bucks, in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Raptors have already made history this year, and these Toronto murals are certainly an epic way to honour the team. But they aren’t the only tributes that have popped up around the city. Here are a few others:
1. Raptors Logo
“We painted the logo to show Toronto is cheering on our team,” Mayor John Tory wrote on Twitter. “Thanks to @MLSEPR for funding the installation to further celebrate the Raptors in our city.”
2. We The North Driveway Art
The Raptors’ logo and slogan “We The North” was painted with pride on a driveway in Scarborough just one day after the team won the Eastern Conference finals.
3. Kawhi And Kyle Storefront Tribute
Scarborough-based printing company Ink Drip paid tribute to the Raptors by placing photos of Kawhi and teammate Kyle Lowry on its garage and storefront.
4. (A)GO Raptors Go
The AGO added the Raptors logo to their entranceway the same day as Game 1 of the NBA Finals.