The basketball fraternity rallied around Kyle Lowry during the 2018-19 playoffs, where the Toronto Raptors’ point guard finally broke through the glass ceiling and won his first NBA title.
Lowry submitted a performance for the ages in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, closing out the series with 26 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds.
Prior to the start of the 2019-20 NBA season, Lowry appeared on the LightHarted Podcast - hosted by New Orleans Pelicans guard Josh Hart - and detailed the playoff run, where Chris Paul was among the many players who texted him advice and support.
“Everyone knows how much work you put in and they respond, they send you a text,” Lowry said.
“I remember CP hit me up and was like, 'Yo, you gotta do this', during the series. And I'm like, 'Alright, I got you bro'. It was like he wanted me to get it so bad and that's just how everyone understood, 'Kyle put a lot of work in,’ and I would feel the same way about him and I would feel the same way about you.”
It was a coronation of Lowry’s efforts with the Raptors, who cemented his status as a franchise icon during the playoff run. However, it could’ve all been for naught as Lowry detailed how DeMar DeRozan stood by him when the Raptors almost shipped the point guard to the New York Knicks in 2013.
"You know, they almost traded me to New York, but me and DeMar were on the same page. We were like, 'we can't let them blow this up. We're going to fight and make them make a decision.' Not because we're bad, but because we're good. And since that day, since that flight, we've always been on the same page. That year, we communicated, we talked and talked, and over time we became best friends."
DeRozan, along with Jakob Poeltl and a 2019 first-round pick were traded to the San Antonio Spurs in July 2018 in exchange for Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green. Although the rest is now history, Lowry and DeRozan were both originally incensed by the move, but winning at the highest level cures all.
Lowry is forever stamped as an NBA champion but he’s not satisfied with just one Larry O’Brien Trophy.
"It's what professionals do. It's what my job is, to be prepared for this next upcoming year. Never want to give up the celebration, never want to stop partying and talking about it, but tomorrow the New Orleans Pelicans are going to try to kick the s— out of us. That is what it is, they don't give a f— who we are.”
Toronto defeated New Orleans in a 130-122 overtime victory on opening night and secured a 122-104 victory on the road against Hart’s club.
Never underestimate the heart of a champion, least of all Lowry, who will forever be motivated by slights against him during the earlier stages of his career.
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