One of the dumber things people can say to members of the media is “stick to sports.” It’s a useless command, one that says far more about the sender than his or her intended target. Saying “stick to sports” is a way of implying, please, I’d like the world to remain small, understandable, and safe. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t work that way — it’s large, often confusing, and, as the events of yesterday in Toronto show, sometimes quite dangerous.
But the stick to sports edict can also provide a different kind of shelter, one that (ideally) welcomes all people into a single big space — be it literal or metaphoric — and says: yes, we’re all in this together. As I write this I wish I could just stick to sports, because why not? It’s just a fun diversion, something that means both a lot to me, and absolutely nothing. Yet, I can’t quite do that because, of course, the wider world still exists out there.
If nothing else, the events of Monday put a 2-2 series between the Raptors and Wizards, something that felt like a life-and-death struggle as recently as Sunday, into perspective. It feels difficult to worry about such a thing now, but it is also the only thing I want to worry about right now.
(Full disclosure: I work in the North York Civic Centre, right where much of the violence took place. Obviously, I’m fine — but once I return to the office (it was closed today), I hope to see all of my co-workers alive and well.)
So, to that end, let’s watch Masai Ujiri, coach Dwane Casey, and Kyle Lowry talk about Toronto. And then, yes, I promise we’ll stick to sports (as Casey and Lowry eventually do, later in their clips).
Other highlights here include:
- Out of context Masai: “I fear nothing, and no one.” Well then!
- Lowry says he’s off social media right now, so he doesn’t know about all the “angst” around the Raptors. In fact, he asks for a definition of the word, and laughs off any of its implications. (Cheers to Eric Koreen for actually looking up the word “angst” for Lowry.)
- Still, Lowry gives credit to the Wizards for protecting their home floor, and acknowledges the Raps have to keep the ball flowing, counter what Washington did, and get back to their winning style of basketball. No big reveal there.
- Casey, meanwhile, did drop some big on-the-court news: both Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby are day-to-day right now. Both were able to participate in practice, which is a good sign.
- Supplementary video evidence of FVV on the court:
VanVleet scrimmaging with some of the young guys after practice today. Just hit a 3 and finished a tough layup. pic.twitter.com/aRx0kgJvwS— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) April 24, 2018
- As to why the Raptors looked a little shook in Game 4, hesitating on taking shots, and getting themselves generally out of rhythm, Casey had no answer. “Dr. Shaw is our a team psychologist, and that’s a good question for him.”
- Casey hopes the Toronto crowd is “as loud, as vicious and boisterous as Washington was, because they were, there were some things coming out of there... they were rabid. It was a hot environment on Sunday. So we’ve gotta turn around and do the same thing. I hope our crowd is loud, and on Washington, and make it where they can’t hear, and call out plays, and whatever. But it’s very important. I think we have one of the best home courts in the league.”
Dwane, I don’t think that will be a problem. Toronto, you know what to do.