The identity of the Toronto Raptors: from the inventor of basketball to Steven Spielberg

In 1994 the name and colors of the new franchise became official, which recovered basketball for Toronto 48 years later.


Toronto Raptors debuted in NBA in season 1995-96, but it was two years earlier when it was confirmed that they would be part of the expansión that the League was preparing. The other franchise was also Canadian, the Vancouver Grizzlies, which ended up going to Memphis. By the way, just the year that Pau Gasol arrived there. But back to Toronto, since 1993 began preparations to create a team from scratch. And two of the basic things you need a sports set is the name and colors of the shirts.

The city had already had first level basketball team for a season: the Toronto Huskies in 46-47, playing in the extinct BAA. 48 years later he was going to return the sport of the basket to the Canadian city and many were tempted to recover that husky as image of the franchise. But to make a logo with a dog of enormous resemblance to the wolf being already in the League the Minnesota Timberwolves (that have that animal in its shield) could create a problem at the time of differentiating to both franchises.

Also se decided to do a popular contest so that anyone who wanted to provide an idea of what the name of the new franchise would be could do so. The result was not binding, but they wanted to know the tastes of those who were going to be their fans. The list of possible names was almost infinite and a screening of ten names was made, among which was the definitive one. And Steven Spielberg had a great blame for it. A year earlier it had released Jurassic Park, based on Michael Crichton's 1990 science fiction novel. The film had an instant success throughout the world, becoming the one that had raised the most money in cinemas to date. And, of course, the Canadians were not oblivious to it. The Raptors, the informal name of the velociraptor, one of the great protagonists of the film, was chosen to represent the new franchise. As it was recognized then and later, the influence of Spielberg's feature film was capital.

On May 24, 1994, the new team logo was shown for the first time to the public: a red velociraptor throwing a silver ball, wearing a purple suit and surrounded by a black circle with the name of the computer. Those were going to be the colors the Raptors were going to wear. The silver color of the ball was perhaps the most important of all because of the meaning it had. It was 111111 reference to James Naismith, the inventor of basketball in 1891, who was born in Canada , in the province of Ontario (the same as in Toronto). In 1936 basketball was Olympic for the first time in Berlin and Naismith came to be present at such an important time. In the final Canada lost by 19-8 to the United States. The man from whom the idea of that sport had gone was in charge of giving the medals, handing over the silver medals to his compatriots. Since then, that color and Naismith are one for Canada, which sees how the team that honored Naismith from the day of its founding is a few steps away from making history.



Photos from as.com

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