Tonight, it’s Kawhi Leonard versus The Raptors – oh, and Drake too.
That’s the matchup eager fans are hoping is on the floor (and courtside) at the Scotiabank Arena tonight when the reigning NBA champion Raptors face the LA Clippers.
One of the best basketball players on the planet, the native of California will finally receive his championship ring in a special pre-game ceremony Wednesday (fans are asked to be in their seats by 6:45).
The ovation should be thunderous and historic. Despite abandoning the Raps to return home, Leonard is loved in Toronto, as it should be.
Don’t forget – the game matters too. The Raptors are 16-7 and sit third in the Eastern Conference. Every win counts.
Adding some retro spin and significance to the game, the Raptors, celebrating their 25th anniversary season, will roll out their original white-and-purple dinosaur jerseys. Plus, they’ll play on a replica home-court design from their inaugural season in 1995.
The Dino lives.
The Clippers beat the Raptors 98-88 in November in Los Angeles with Kawhi finishing with 12 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. In order to ensure that Leonard is fresh for his return against his old team, his new team sat the 28-year-old for their Monday game against the Indiana Pacers. Load management continues (actually Kawhi has a sore knee).
Clippers coach Doc Rivers assured Toronto fans that Kawhi will play Wednesday.“That’s a standing ovation,” Rivers told reporters Monday after the Clippers beat the Indiana Pacers 110-99.
“Really, I don’t think that is very hard. We got a taste of that in Vancouver. We saw it in an exhibition game because Kawhi was in town. So if I’m a fan base and a guy won me a title, I might retire his jersey that night.”
Wednesday morning, downtown billboards heralded his return and Leonard faced a media horde at the morning shootaround, according to Canadian Press.
Happy #Kawhi Day! This was very exciting to see first thing in the morning.
LETS 👏 GO 👏 RAPTORS 👏 pic.twitter.com/PNN1JaIYeJ
— Maria Khan (@MariaSocially) December 11, 2019
Ontario Place is so pumped about the return of “The Klaw” that it is inviting fans on game night to join Hoop Talks, hosted by Sam Davis, at Cinesphere and watch the game on the 80-foot big screen, with full game audio, prizes, and Raptors trivia.
We say bet on it.
And even though his Raptors have lost three games in a row Drake is on a roll.
He even surprised fans surprised fans of the popular new rapper, Dababy, during his show at Rebel last night.
DaBaby brought out Drake at his show in Toronto tonight pic.twitter.com/6g23IzLZmw
— New Branches (@new_branches) December 11, 2019
In addition to rolling out images of his Bridle Path mansion to tease fans, and sharing pictures of where he grew up in Toronto, Drizzy was just named No. 16 on Billboard’s recently updated list of the 125 best musical artists of all time.
The Toronto rapper was also named No. 5 on Billboard’s list of the top 10 artists of 2019.
How did other Canadian superstar musicians fare?
Celine Dion was ranked 33; Nickelback (what?) came in at No. 52; Justin Bieber was 55th; Bryan Adams was 93rd and Canadian country singer Shania Twain was ranked 111th.
Not making the cut were Neil Young, Rush, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, The Band, Broken Social Scene, Gordon Lightfoot and The Guess Who.
Or, as Billie Eilish might rightly say, who?