The Toronto Raptors truly are Canada's team, and it seems like the players feel right at home here.
In an appearance on the Ball Don’t Stop podcast, Raptors' guard Fred VanVleet revealed that while he already considers himself an honorary Canadian, he feels it’s only fitting to procure the proper papers.
“I’m definitely a Canadian, an honorary Canadian,” VanVleet explained. “I think I’m going to work on getting my passport, try and get some citizenship or something. My kids love it; my daughter is Canadian, she was born in Toronto. Toronto’s been great, it’s been great to me and my family. The country has embraced me."
.@FredVanVleet is working on getting his Canadian citizenship 🇨🇦
"I'm definitely a Canadian, honorary Canadian. I think I'm going to work on my passport, try to get some citizenship."
🎥: @UNCanada pic.twitter.com/j28WUOrmz3
— 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐍𝐞𝐰𝐬 Canada 🇨🇦 (@sportingnewsca) October 6, 2022
VanVleet went on to laud Raptors legend Kyle Lowry for taking him under his wing and providing the blueprint for being successful in Toronto. While he understands his legacy is established in Toronto, another championship is still the goal.
“I watched Kyle do it, so I got the blueprint. I just got to stick around long enough to be the longest-tenured guy and you know, see what type of more stuff I can rack up — bring them another championship.”
When asked about his experience winning a championship in 2019, the Illinois native detailed how his main role was to stifle Stephen Curry. Despite many remembering his heroics in Game 6, he recounts being told to make the two-time MVP’s life “hell.”
“My matchup is Steph Curry. I'm supposed to make his life hell on the other end. It basically was like, ‘yo you got Steph, don't leave him.’ That was it, that's all really my role was at the time."
— UNINTERRUPTED Canada 🇨🇦 (@UNCanada) October 5, 2022
Interestingly, VanVleet’s hot streak in the 2019 NBA Finals was never a part of the plan. It was more so a product of him wanting to reap rewards from playing tenacious defence.
“The shot-making and all that was just extra because I had already got hot in the series before, VanVleet said. “So, now it's like I'm not playing all this defence to not shoot. So when I get it, sh*t, I'm going to try to get a bucket because I'm here too. I’m not Kawhi, I’m not Kyle, I’m not Pascal, I understand that, I’m not Steph, but I’m trying to join the party too.”
Coming off his first career All-Star selection, VanVleet is looking to lead a talented Raptors team back to the playoffs, hoping to go further than the first round this time around.
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