Kyle Lowry has joined the Miami Heat, bringing an end to what was an outstanding nine seasons with the franchise.
Among setting a number of Raptors franchise records and helping Toronto win its first-ever NBA championship, Lowry left a lasting impact that will not soon be forgotten.
In an attempt to draw back some of his most memorable moments with the Raptors, our NBA.com Staff shares their favourite Lowry memory during his time in Toronto.
Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): This was a tough decision to make given how much Lowry has done for this franchise over the past nine seasons, but my mind kept coming back to one memory: The 2019 Eastern Conference Finals celebration.
From not being able to watch Kawhi Leonard sink the series-sealing free throws to drowning in confetti while hoisting the Eastern Conference Finals trophy, it was clear to me that there was something special about this moment for Lowry. Of course, it's going to be special realizing you're finally going to your first NBA Finals, but watching it live, it felt like there was something extra there.
Back-to-back first-round exits to start his career in Toronto. Reaching the first Conference Finals in franchise history in 2016, only to come up two wins shy against LeBron James in the Cleveland Cavaliers. Then having to see LeBron in the second round in two consecutive seasons after that, being swept out of the playoffs on both occasions.
It didn't help that Lowry started the 2019 postseason with one of the worst games of his career, further driving the narrative that the Raptors can't win in the playoffs. Going down 2-0 to the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals, some wondered if a third-straight sweep to get bounced out of the playoffs was in the works.
When the Raptors completed the series comeback, winning four straight to advance to The Finals, it seemed like it was beyond belief for Lowry. Being able to celebrate in Toronto in front of a rocking Scotiabank Arena crowd with an entire country pulling for you.
Yes, winning the first NBA title in franchise history could have been an easy selection for my favourite Lowry moment as a Raptor, but to me, I felt this moment for him more than any other moment I could think of.
Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): There are a couple of moments that immediately come to mind.
The first: Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals.
Not wanting to return to Toronto for a Game 7 against the Golden State Warriors, Lowry came out of the gates firing with a 15-point first quarter, doing so on 5-for-6 shooting from the field and a perfect 4-for-4 from 3-point range. He only scored 11 points the rest of the way, but what Lowry did in the opening quarter set the tone for one of the biggest and most meaningful games in franchise history.
Kyle Lowry scores the @Raptors first 11 PTS of Game 6! #NBAFinals#WeTheNorth 17#StrengthInNumbers 8- NBA (@NBA) June 14, 2019
🇺🇸: ABC 🇨🇦: TSN pic.twitter.com/d6Hfmxjfi6
The second: Game 6 of Toronto's second-round series with the Boston Celtics in the 2020 NBA Playoffs.
In what turned out to be a double-overtime win for the Raptors to force a Game 7, Lowry led the way with 33 points, eight rebounds, six assists, two steals and one block in 53 minutes of play. Beyond being a record-breaking performance, it was the quintessential Lowry game, willing the Raptors to a gritty win to keep their season and title defence alive.
Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): Where to begin?
Admittedly, when I began to jog my memories of Lowry's time in Toronto, the above three came to mind before anything else. That being said, that moment in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals sticks with me more than just about anything else.
But not everything else. Before I get too deep into the 2019 ECF, I gotta take a second out for an honourable mention.
It's Tuesday, May 3, 2016, and it's finals week for me during my senior year of college. Somehow in my haste in going from A to B, I left my key in my room and, with all my roommates studying elsewhere, I was locked out until further notice.
Meanwhile, the Raptors and Heat battled down the stretch to open the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Naturally, I sat down on the floor outside of our room and, as I waited for a roommate to come back and let me in, I watched as the Raptors Game 1 woes were rearing their ugly head once again. Then, down three with just three seconds left, Lowry knocked down a triple from halfcourt to send it to OT.
Toronto lost the game, but I remember thinking "how can you say a player capable of hitting a shot like this doesn't show up when it counts?" Fittingly, the team would eventually win the series.
Now, fast forward three more years and the Raptors are just one win away from the Finals. The photo of Lowry's face when he realized it was really happening is a level of joy we should all hope to have at some point in our lives.
Watching that game and hearing the roar of the Scotiabank Arena crowd when Lowry raised the trophy was a moment in sports I'll never forget. Yes, Kawhi Leonard was that team's MVP but Lowry was and is the MVP of the franchise. In that moment, all the criticisms and low points of the past became irrelevant forever.
Then, fittingly, he and Drake led the team around the main concourse of the arena with the trophy in hand.
This is obviously a couple of days old...but I'm not sure how much play it got...if any. A buddy who attended game 6 sent this to me...- Eric Smith (@Eric__Smith) May 27, 2019
The @Raptors parading the Eastern Conference Championship trophy around the main concourse at @ScotiabankArena...bringing it to the FANS!
Rivalled only by the championship itself, those images from Game 6 will forever stick with me because they all happened in Toronto. Momentous.
Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay): There's only one moment that comes to mind for me when I think about Lowry's tenure as a Raptors and nothing will ever replace it.
Standing in Jurassic Park with thousands of Raptors fans looking up at the screen realizing that Toronto had finally won an NBA championship - I felt numb. As a Canadian basketball fan, I never thought I'd see the day that the Raptors - a Canadian team - would be standing on top of the basketball world.
It wasn't until I saw Lowry lift the trophy over his head that it hit me. It was real. The Larry O'Brien trophy resided in Canada.
Lowry's smile lifting the trophy over his head will be etched into my memory forever.
As many great moments as he's had on the court, nothing will ever top that one image for me.
No matter where he goes from here or how his career turns out, Lowry as a champion will always be what I remember most.
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