toronto raptors

People are mad at the Toronto Raptors for calling themselves World Champions

The Toronto Raptors are so beloved for their NBA championship win last season, it's easy to assume the team can do no wrong in the eyes of Canadians. 

But the controversial choice of words on the championship banner unveiled at the Raptors' home opener is proving that Canada does in fact have the ability to say something negative about the Raptors after all. 

When the Raptors' championship banner was revealed during the ceremony on October 22, it looked a little different than those from previous winning teams. 

Instead of the words "NBA Champions" sprawled out across the banner, the words "2019 World Champions" were written instead. 

"I love the Raptors and their NBA Championship, the Raptors however are not World Champions. Your banner and rings could say North American Champions, anything more is ludicrous and insulting to the rest of the world," one Twitter user wrote of the decision online.

Clearly some fans aren't impressed with the choice of words, and many are pointing out that the NBA only includes basketball teams from North America. 

Many are also alluding to the fact that there is in fact a world champion in basketball, and it's not the Raptors.

Spain is actually the current world champion, after defeating Argentina in the final of the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Some are saying the Raptors' decision to call themselves world champs actually takes away from the accomplishments of Spain's men's national basketball team. 

But despite disappointment from some outspoken fans, Raptors president Masai Ujiri is standing by his decision. 

In an interview with Toronto Star sports columnist Dave Feschuk, Ujiri said the decision to go with "World Champions" required much deliberation.

In the end, he said he felt it was the right decision because he sees his team as different than the rest of the American NBA teams.

"As the only team outside the U.S.,"  Ujiri told Feschuk, "I think we’re a proud representation of the rest of the world."

Lead photo by

Toronto Raptors


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Sports

NHL might have an all Canadian division next year due to border restrictions

Avril Lavigne surprises NFL player who was singing her song while training

Steve Nash is the second Canadian to be named head coach of an NBA team

Golf course straddling the Canada-U.S. border won't let members cross over

NHL just postponed all of the playoff games tonight

Fans and players condemn NHL for going ahead with games while other leagues boycott

NHL says players have no plans to boycott games and nobody is surprised

How systemic racism shaped the history of Canada's swimming pools