Sunday, 3 February 2013
RUDY GAY Feature-TORONTO STAR
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
Welcome to Toronto Rudy Gay! There is a lot to see here in this unique and underrated city that plays home to the Toronto Raptors. The only remaining Canadian franchise in the National Basketball Association ever since Rudy's former Memphis Grizzlies team left the North of Vancouver hoops extinct. Now Gay's fall from Graceland takes him from the Presley rock n roll of the West to one of the greatest cities on the East Coast and even the world. Read all about it in the local Toronto Star. There's a new franchise face for those Maple Syrup bottles at 26 years of age, that is still in the golden era, prime of his career.
This writer lived in the beautiful Canadian city of the T-Dot in the fall of 2006 and I'll tell you, its one for the travel journals. Back then the Raptors where really something too. Behind the then withheld South Beach talents of Chris Bosh, the Raps where like an East Coast Phoenix Suns (of the fellow Canadian Steve Nash time). With a foreign supporting cast of hot rookie Andrea Bargnani, speedy guard Jose Calderon, hot shooter Anthony Parker and garbage man Jorge Garbajosa, and guys like veteran Mo-Pete and dunk contender Fred Jones they lit a European flair and style of play that ignited their run and gun up the Eastern Conference. It was all good and looking like the new face of Eastern dominance until coaches got fired, players got injured, traded and other LeBron James deciding factors came into play.
It's just what happens in the NBA or life. This writer was meant to stay in Toronto for a good year and build a life there, but when I look outside my door this morning, there's no snow. Go figure. Teams look like the next big-thing then one wrong move in this business oriented league can turnover the fortunes. Still just as quickly as a team can give up, they can get the ball back and now with their latest trade the T-Dot Raps have their first legit star since Chris Bosh left like Vince Carter did, like he promised he wouldn't do. Canadian fans then where left like that shrieking girl with the flashlight in Jurassic Park..."He let us". Tracy McGrady, Vince and Chris may have dunked all over the future, formidable hopes of this ballclub and it's city but with Gay, it's a new, happy day now.
As soon as you drive into the city from Pearson, you see one of the worlds largest free-standing structures in the CN Tower. From the very top of this landmark you can catch one of the worlds greatest views. Still, it's Rudy's turn to watch over the city now. More than 6 years later, it could be like 2006 again behind a guy that was drafted 8th overall that year. So long as the rebuilding Raptors get the complimentary pieces that could help Rudy roar these guys back into the park of East Coast contenders. So long as his career is more primetime then the downtime of Hakeem Olaujawon or Jalen Rose. Fortunately the ever underrated Rudy Gay is built to lead, so don't look for him to struggle like complimentary players like Shawn Marion and Hedo Turkoglu who had too much of a burden to bear with the cold up north during their winters in Toronto.
If you take a boat out to the inspiring Toronto Islands you'll have a sight to behold in the skyline of the city beyond Lake Ontario. It's almost as amazing as catching a glimpse of Rudy Gay running the lay-up line and hammering home a Slam Dunk worthy winning jam. This is a guy that over 82 games, shows his $82 million contract worth. A guy that Memphis where confident that could take the horns of the their franchise once Spanish star Pau Gasol left in 2008. A guy who the Raptors should keep their claws into despite trade rumors linking him again with Gasol and his Los Angeles Laker team. A 20 point, 6 rebound guy who even tied Memphis Grizzlies legend Shane Battier in all-time steals and if he continues here for the next decade at least could well break many Toronto ones.
Toronto is the Canadian city that never sleeps. Known for its shopping almost as much as New York, London, Tokyo or Seoul. Even the ice-cold Winters won't stop this city with an underground network of boutiques. Nothing going to stop Rudy Gay or his new Toronto Raptors team from rising up from the underground too. You think this team will end up closing down and following Vancouver? Or end up being the next Seattle Supersonics, before the Sacramento Kings became the new them? Sure retiring commissioner David Stern's plans to expand the NBA into Europe and Africa may have been limited to a few exhibition and regular season games but it isn't over yet. The last remaining Canadian franchise and it's new star have something to show, prove and say. They are here to stay, behind Rudy Gay. It's Toronto time!