The Raptors Won, and Canada Learns to Swagger

The Raptors Won, and Canada Learns to Swagger

TORONTO — On Thursday night, when the Toronto Raptors won the N.B.A. championship in Oakland, Calif., the streets of Canada erupted in a patriotic euphoria that I’d never seen before. It was the first time that a Canadian team had made it to the N.B.A. finals, and Yonge Street, in the heart of Toronto, was a multiracial mosh pit. Thousands of people were hugging and chanting, “We the North.”

There were turbans and hijabs and the echoes of diverse accents. Everyone was represented, and everyone was representing.

For weeks now, Canadians have been on the edge of their seats watching the Raptors make their improbable run to the finals. In a very Canadian sort of way, we doubted whether it waseven real. Could we actually win? There is an insecurity to Canadians that came from always being America’s runner-up. “Why is a brother up north better than Jordan / That ain’t get that break,”Jadakiss once rapped — a line that could be applied to all the imprisoned ambitions in Canada.

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