By Fred Wallace
Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".
How big can a bandwagon get ?
The Toronto Raptors, making their first appearance in the NBA Finals, are about to test the limits of how far a team's appeal can reach.
Of course the Raptors are Canada's only NBA franchise and have been since 2001 when the Vancouver Grizzlies bolted to Memphis, so that leaves an entire nation as a potential fan base which is a good start.
But to say Canada, or even Toronto, has been with the Raptors since the beginning would be highly inaccurate.
As everybody says, ' the best marketing plan or promotional scheme is a winning team ", and only in the last handful of seasons have the Raptors been contenders.
And even then, inside Toronto and out, the love was not universal for the Raptors when they stumbled or got crushed in post season competition by the LeBron James' of the World.
But now here they are, 24 years after their opening game, HOSTING Game 1 of the Championship Series against the Golden State Warriors.
Can Toronto topple the Warriors who have been to the Championship Series for 5 consecutive seasons ?
I don't see why not.
They've got Kawhi Leonard, at key times, the best player in the game.
They've got a highly focused and extremely motivated Kyle Lowry.
The core of the team includes warriors ( pardon the pun ) like Marc Gasol and emerging stars like Pascal Siakim and deadly three point shooters like Fred Van Vleet.
It's highly possible that Toronto could upend, if not upset, Golden State and win the 2019 NBA Championship......or am I just looking for a spot on the bandwagon ?
I'm Fred Wallace