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

Gold River ready to welcome visitors and restart local businesses

In contrast to single-industry remote communities, Gold River’s diversified economy might help it better survive after reopening

JAK’s raises more than $3,000 for Campbell River Food Bank

Campbell River locations took part in the JAK’s Gives Back campaign on May 30

Campbell River bike park receives full funding

Looking for volunteers help to finish project

Campbell River Art Gallery to reopen June 4

38th Annual Members’ Show will be on display for month of June

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Mirror business directory and map

If you’d like to be added to the list, shoot us an email

Man found dead in his tent at Island homeless camp

Facebook posts tell of personal struggles and attempts to stay clean and sober

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

B.C. woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Horgan calls for national anti-racism program; will pitch idea to PM, premiers

Premier John Horgan said he’s horrified by the death of George Floyd in the United States

Most Read