The Toronto Raptors entered the NBA in 1995 with the Vancouver Grizzlies. It was the NBA’s first foray into Canada since the Toronto Huskies of the mid-1940s. The Huskies played for one season in the Basketball Association of America (BAA), forerunner to the NBA. In 2001, the Grizzlies relocated to Memphis leaving the Raptors as Canada’s lone NBA franchise.
The Raptors were originally going to be called the “Huskies,” homage to the old franchise, but no one could figure out how to design a logo that didn’t remind NBA fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves. A contest was held and from that came the name “Raptors,” short for velociraptor, a medium-sized dinosaur. The name was chosen in part because of the popularity of the movie Jurassic Park.
As is the case with most expansion teams, the Raptors struggled during their first few years. They finally reached the playoffs for the first time in club history in 2000 (their fifth season overall) where they were promptly swept by the New York Knicks.
The Raptors returned to the postseason in 2001 under the leadership of head coach Lenny Wilkens. The Raptors enacted a bit of revenge against the Knicks by ousting them in the first round. It was the Raptors first ever playoff series win.
From 2002 to 2014, the Raptors qualified for the postseason just four times but failed to get out of the first round. The 2006-2007 season was arguably the Raptors’ greatest campaign. They won 47 games (second most in franchise history) and... Read more