It's hard to talk about or quantify someone's legacy when they're still putting the finishing touches on it, but when you're sure of it, why wait?
That's how many should feel about Kyle Lowry. We know he's the greatest Raptors of all-time, so why wait to give him his flowers?
Last week Lowry was announced as an All-Star for the sixth straight season. He breaks a tie that he shared with Vince Carter and Chris Bosh for the most All-Star appearances as a Raptor. It's another accolade to the long list that Lowry has amassed as a member of Canada's only NBA franchise.
Officially your 6-time #NBAAllStar @Klow7.- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) January 31, 2020
Congrats, Champ. #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/Ha4sAsGafV
MORE: Lowry not being All-Star is 'unfathomable'
It's not just the All-Star appearances that make Lowry the best Raptor of all-time. He has the numbers to back it up.
Lowry is in the top-10 in every major statistical category in Raptors history, except for blocks - and even then he's not far away from cracking the top-10. On Tuesday, he became the franchise's leader in total assists, passing former Raptor standout Jose Calderon.
And beyond the numbers, he's been able to adapt to any style and any role the team has wanted to play while he's been in the backcourt. Which is maybe his greatest trait.
When the team needed him to step up and become a leader, he did just that, losing weight and putting himself in the best possible shape for an 82-game season and extended playoff run.
When the team needed him to become a scorer, he did just that, upping his average to a career-high 21.2 points per game in 2015-16 and then topping that figure the following season at 22.4 points per game.
When the team needed him to take a step back and allow for a more balanced offensive approach, he took three fewer shots a game, which is easier said than done, and Toronto posted the best regular-season record in franchise history.
Hindsight is 20/20, of course. If Lowry knew the Raptors would have their best record ever (59-23), he'd give up the three extra shots, but nothing was guaranteed. In fact, through the first 20 games of the 2017-18 season, Toronto was just 13-7. They could've panicked and gone back to what was comfortable - Lowry could have gone back to what was comfortable. But he didn't. He led by example and it turned into the best season in franchise history at the time, setting the stage for the next season and his next evolution.
And while the offence is what "sells tickets," let's not forget about the defence. Since arriving in Toronto, Lowry is averaging 1.5 steals per game - a total of 790. He's laid his body on the line countless times, drawing 96 charges since 2016-17. No other Raptor comes close to drawing that many charges during that span. He continues to lay his body on the line this season - his age 33 season - even after dealing with an injury, all in the name of wins. Lowry is currently second in the league in total charges drawn (21) only behind LA Clippers centre Montrezl Harrell (28).
Perhaps Lowry's greatest achievement as a Raptors player will never show up on a stat sheet or a record book, but will forever be remembered by every Raptor fan who was lucky enough to watch the team's championship journey in 2018-19.
It was well-documented that Lowry was hurt by the way his best friend and teammate DeMar DeRozan had been shipped out of town, but Lowry never let it affect his play or his relationship with Kawhi Leonard. Lowry remained professional throughout as the leader and heart and soul of the franchise - putting his feelings aside and putting what's best for the team first. No one truly knows how tough that may have been for Lowry, and that's partly why it was so great. If Lowry doesn't buy-in from day one, the Raptors would still be ringless.
It's been eight seasons and counting for No. 7 in Toronto and he's achieved something rare for many athletes - a perfect approval rating. You'll never find a Raptors fan or anyone that hopped on the bandwagon during the 2019 Finals run say a bad thing about Lowry.
In Toronto, it truly is Kyle Lowry Over Everything.
There's no need to wait. Let's give Kyle Lowry his flowers now.
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