Toronto Raptors center Serge Ibaka, middle, celebrates with Larry Tanenbaum, left, and George Cope after the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of basketball’s NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, June 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Toronto Raptors and their diverse team celebrated worldwide

Team is made up of players from the U.S., Canada, Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, and Spain

The Toronto Raptors became Canada’s team even before winning the NBA Finals, but international news headlines on Friday suggested they are now celebrated as world champions.

The team — which became the first NBA franchise outside the U.S. to clinch the title — is made up of players hailing from several countries including the U.S., Canada, Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, and Spain.

News outlets took note of that diverse roster after the Toronto team’s victory over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night.

“Globalization is the star of the NBA,” a headline on the Washington Post stated.

“A global NBA now has a truly global champion” the Associated Press declared.

Media outlets in some countries chose to highlight connections to homegrown heroes in their coverage.

Cameroon celebrated Pascal Siakam, who didn’t begin playing basketball until he was in his late teens. He has morphed into a rising star in the league despite his late start in the game.

“I didn’t think I could make it,” Siakam said after the game. “And I think a lot of kids don’t think that it’s possible. Just me being able to be here today and telling them that, ‘Hey, look at me, I was a little scrawny kid from Cameroon … but here I am, as a champion.”

The Journal Du Cameroun championed the champion with its headline that read, “Pascal Siakam, first Cameroonian to win NBA.”

In Spain, where Raptors big man Marc Gasol is from, the Catalan News blared the headline “Catalan brothers become first siblings to both win NBA crown,” a reference to Gasol and his brother Pau who won two championship titles with the Los Angeles Lakers. The pair were born in Barcelona.

Jeremy Lin, an Asian-American born in California whose parents are Taiwanese, was front and centre for one Asian outlet.

“Jeremy Lin becomes the first Asian-American to win an NBA championship as Raptors take game six,” blared the headline in the South China Morning Post.

Lin is also huge in Toronto, which has a thriving Chinese and Taiwanese community. Sing Tao, a Toronto news site, went big on Lin, splashing photographs of the depth-player celebrating the championship with his mother.

READ MORE: Raptors president Masai Ujiri accused of assaulting sheriff’s deputy in Oakland

Meanwhile, team president Masai Ujiri, who was born in England and raised in Nigeria, was big news back home.

“Ex-Nigerian basketball player becomes 1st African general manager to win NBA title,” one Nigerian headline said.

Closer to Canada, Rockford, Ill., showed its pride in hometown hero Fred VanVleet by hosting its own version of the outdoor Jurassic Park fan zone that became wildly popular in Toronto. VanVleet returned the love.

“Rockford, Rockford it’s for you, baby!” declared the headline quoting the player in the Rockford Register Star.

Liam Casey, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

TMX liquor license request gets approval from council

Community safety common denominator among voices heard.

Vehicle roll over closes highway for over three hours

The vehicle’s occupants were taken to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops via helicopter

Trans Mountain to contribute funds for infrastructure upgrades

The company signed an agreement with the District committing $3.1 million

Seniors group recommends website to members with tech issues

The Wells Gray Country Seniors Society (WGCSS) has run a program called “Cyber Seniors” since 2015.

B.C. prepares back-to-school plan for students in COVID-19

Districts will be refining preparations up to Sept. 8

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Large missing python found ssssafe in Victoria after being on the lam for weeks

The snake was located more than six kilometres from where it went missing

B.C. announces multi-year plan to double treatment beds for youth with addiction

This will bring the total number of new beds specific to those 12 to 24 years old to 247 province-wide

B.C. man who nearly died from COVID-19 reflects on one-month battle

Robert Billyard was in an induced coma to ensure his body would not fight the ventilator to breathe

Most Read