When Toronto Raptors forward Patrick Patterson isn't draining three-pointers or hustling back to make a play on defence, he is piecing together eloquent prose for Derek Jeter's website The Player's Tribune.
In Patterson's latest article, he takes readers inside what it's like to be involved in a trade as a professional athlete. Using his move from Houston to Sacramento to illustrate, the 25-year-old compares the experience to a bad breakup.
"I was furious," Patterson writes. "A trade feels like a breakup. But like a tough breakup, my bitterness towards the Rockets faded over time. I understand now that it was strictly a business decision. And I respect the guys in the front office for doing their jobs. But how can you not take it personally?
Patterson played his college basketball at the University of Kentucky, debuted with the Houston Rockets, and then landed with the Sacramento Kings prior to his trade to Toronto. What do all of those places have in common? A warm climate. The forward was certainly not keen on playing in the Canadian weather upon his trade north of the border.
"I remember as the pilot told us that we were about to descend, I pulled up the window shade and all I saw was … white," Patterson writes. "Just white everywhere. I’d been traded to the North Pole."
Patterson immediately wanted out of the situation, calling his agent as soon as he was dropped off at his hotel. As time passed, something remarkable happened. The Raptors started winning games. For the first portion of the 2013-14 season, talk amongst fans was about tanking for local phenom Andrew Wiggins to kickstart a major rebuild. But after Patterson's arrival, the club started stringing together victories, and would go on to capture the Atlantic Division title.
With the newfound success, the Kentucky product developed a newfound, positive attitude regarding Ontario's capital.
"When I started getting to know Toronto, I fell in love with the city," Patterson writes. "If you come here, you will too. When free agency rolled around, I explored my options, but ultimately it wasn’t a hard call to remain in a Raptors uniform. I knew I was a part of something special here."
For a franchise long-ridiculed for not being able to retain key free agents, Patterson and all-star point guard Kyle Lowry have begun to change that mindset. As the Raptors continue to establish themselves as one of the NBA's elite, they are no longer a team that can be laughed at and overlooked. Winning changes everything.
Again, you can find Patterson's full article here.