David Lee’s Fire on the Court started with a Fire in His Belly

The Golden State Warriors became the 2015 NBA Champions with last-minute adjustments made by head coach Steve Kerr. Among those adjustments was the insertion of David Lee into the player rotation. David Lee had a starting role until he was sideline due to an injury. His replacement, Draymond Green, excelled in the position and never relinquished his role as a starter. For the remainder of his tenure with the Warriors, Lee was stuck at the end of a deep Golden State bench.

This all changed mid-way through the NBA Finals when the Cleveland Cavaliers took a two games to one lead. Changes needed to be made after it was clear that starting center Andrew Bogut was ineffective both offensively and defensively against the Cavs. Cue David Lee.

David Lee
David Lee

I’ve always liked David Lee and thought of him as one of the most underrated players in the NBA. He was a double-double machine with the New York Knicks who shipped him off to the Golden State Warriors in 2010.

This off-season Lee was traded to the Boston Celtics. You may wonder why the team that needed him in the NBA Finals would trade a key role player, but the reasoning is two-fold and very fair. The Warriors already have David Lee’s replacement in Draymond Green and look to continue going small to run with other players. David Lee gets to go to a Boston team that needs a player of his caliber. Lee will instantly be inserted into the starting lineup and his veteran experience will help mentor a young Celtics team.

The note reads: Thank you all for your dedication and hard work over the past five seasons. It has been a tremendous honor to work for such a first-class organization. – David Lee
The note reads: Thank you all for your dedication and hard work over the past five seasons. It has been a tremendous honor to work for such a first-class organization. – David Lee

David Lee isn’t just a good basketball player, he’s just a good guy overall. After spending five seasons with the Warriors, Lee thanked the team’s staff after his departure with a free catered lunch brought in by Chipotle Mexican Grill. Golden State Warriors social media coordinator Julie Phayer (@juliephayer) tweeted out the surprise for all to see.

And this isn’t the first time that Lee’s done something like this. In her first week on the job in 2012, Julie recalls Lee also ordering free catered lunch for Warriors staff. What was for lunch? Well, burritos from Chipotle Mexican Grill, of course.

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Does David Lee have a Chipotle obsession? Can he been seen often burrito-in-hand? We may never know the answers to this, but this much is clear, David Lee likes burritos and likes to thank people for their hard work. Cheers to you, David Lee, and all the best in Boston.

Drake, DeRozan and Durant: Three is the Magic Number

For two straight years Drake’s annual OVO Fest has garnered a lot of attention from basketball fans. Last year the Toronto Raptors official Global Ambassador was fined $25,000 by the NBA League Office for ‘tampering’ when he gave a shout out to NBA All-Star Kevin Durant in attendance. Durant will be an restricted free agent in the summer of 2016.

At first, this may seem like an innocent gesture by a performer acknowledging a celebrity at the show, but whether people like it or not, Drake as the Raps Global Ambassador is basically a card-carrying employee of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment (MLSE). He’s no longer just Drake the Rapper, he’s Drake the Raptor.

Demar DeRozan (L) and Kevin Durant look on during Drake's OVO Fest in Toronto
Demar DeRozan (L) and Kevin Durant look on during Drake’s OVO Fest in Toronto

Well, it looks like the usual suspects were seen together once again. Kevin Durant attended this year’s OVO Fest to watch Drake in concert. What makes Raptors fan salivate over this sighting is the fact that Durant was watching the show with none other than Raptors guard Demar DeRozan. And Durant was sporting a Toronto Blue Jays jersey.

The Raptors landing Durant in the 2016 is seemingly a long shot. The Raptors certainly don’t have a proven track record of attracting big time free agents, any All-Star the Raps have had on its roster was added to the team via the NBA Draft, with the exception of Kyle Lowry who re-signed as a free agent after being traded to Toronto.

With Toronto hosting the 2016 NBA All-Star Game, Drake with a Raps logo on his sleeve and hopefully a successful re-vamped Raptors team, Toronto may well be putting itself at least in the Durant conversation. Many believe he’ll return to his hometown of Washington, D.C. to play alongside John Wall and Bradley Beal. Wherever Durant ends up, I don’t see him re-signing with the Oklahoma Thunder.

But ever the optimist, I’ll gladly speculate over these sightings, and may the Basketball Gods look kindly on the Raptors in 2016.

Plus, Durant said himself he idealized Vince Carter and wanted to play for the Raptors as a kid.

Here’s what a $25,000 fine looks like:

 *All image credits can be found on the References & Resources page.

Raptors Unveil New Uniforms in Style

The Raptors have been re-branding for a while now. The #WeTheNorth campaign was launched ahead of schedule after a mid-season trade in the 2013-14 season propelled the Raptors into the post-season for the first time since the 2007-08 season.

The introduction of Toronto rapper Drake as the teams official Global Ambassador in 2013 helped the team’s image worldwide, because let’s be perfectly honest here, Drake’s doing a hell of lot more for the Raptors than the Raptors are doing for Drake. You’re welcome Toronto.

Last year was the Raptors 25th Anniversary and as such they had number of ‘throwback nights’ with the Raps playing in those infamous purple dinosaur uniforms.

Drake at the OVO Fest wearing new Raptors uniform
Drake at the OVO Fest wearing new Raptors uniform

Well, the re-branding continues and the Raptors had the most unique uniform unveiling of any NBA team this summer. Drake came out on stage at his annual OVO Fest in Toronto sporting the new alternate black Raptors jersey. He was wearing a Cory Joseph jersey. As all Toronto fans are aware, Joseph is a native of the area and signed as a free agent with this hometown team this summer. Joseph will wear number 6 next season as Drake is known to refer to Toronto as ‘The 6’ in reference to the local area code.

The Raptors new uniforms themselves seem fine to me. They have a simple, clean look to them, unlike the new Atlanta Hawks uniforms that look like some weird European soccer outfit (minus the sleeves).

Even if you hate the uniforms, you have to admit that they certainly have made the biggest splash this summer, all with the help of the team’s Global Ambassador.

P.S. – The Milwaukee Bucks win the first place prize for the best new uniforms this off-season.

*All image credits can be found on the References & Resources page.