Call us obnoxious if you’d like, but it’s not wrong for Raptors fans to celebrate their team’s 2019 title for as long as possible. What’s funny, of course, is that through no fault of our own, Toronto’s NBA championship reign has just kept going and going. In fact, as of Tuesday, and thanks to the astute math skills of Samuel H. Quinn at CBS Sports, the Raptors’ single-season title reign is now the longest in NBA history.
Today, the 2019 Toronto Raptors officially become the longest-reigning champions in NBA history. They have held the title for 391 days.— Samuel H. Quinn (@SamQuinnCBS) July 7, 2020
The previous record of 390 was set by the 1981 Celtics, as the NBA pushed the start of the playoffs from April 1 to April 21 in 1982.
That tweet is from two days ago so we’re now up to 393 days, with much more time to go. Enough time has passed that we’ve already commemorated this bizarre turn of events with a t-shirt — a true mark of significance. To be clear: the Raptors’ long reign is distinct from the usual re- or three-peat winners. In those cases, the season and playoffs ran out in their normal fashion, crowning a multi-year champion. Here, Toronto is still clinging to their 2019 title, the defense of which just carries on — even if only philosophically.
To put this in perspective, here are some famous historical events that have taken less time to resolve than the Raptors’ current championship defense:
- The original clauses of the Magna Carta only lasted about one year (1215 to 1216);
- The Spanish-American War? Yeah, the actual fighting went down over a mere two months;
- The Cuban Missile Crisis, with our world standing on the brink of nuclear destruction, famously happened over just 13 days;
- Some lighter non-war examples: the marriages of Britney Spears (55 hours) and Kim Kardashian (72 days);
- The Nintendo Virtual Boy, truly one of the strangest pieces of home entertainment tech, made it around 6.5 months in North America; and
- Finally, some CanCon: Kim Campbell’s run as Canada’s Prime Minister lasted about four months.
But I digress. The COVID-19 situation, particularly in the United States, has not improved, which is why we’re all here in the middle of July still thinking about the Raptors’ title win and somehow preparing for competitive basketball to be played in August. That side of the coin is less enjoyable to consider. And I’m willing to bet that most — all? — Raptors fans would have preferred to just have a normal playoff run, even if it ended in defeat without distinction. In this, I think we can agree that nothing good can last forever. (Though the memories of Toronto’s victory more certainly will.)
But to turn that coin over again (yes, this is a three-sided coin), there is perhaps light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe nothing bad can last forever either. Maybe normal will be back... eventually. Until then: the Raptors are still champs. A small comfort, but something to keep in mind.