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KLOE Madness: Crowning Kyle Lowry’s best moment as a Toronto Raptor

As we crown a champion, it’s not a surprise that Kyle Lowry’s best moments occurred on the biggest stage with the most pressure. His place in Raptors lore will live forever.

2019 Toronto Raptors Victory Parade & Rally Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images

June 13, 2019 — the greatest day in Toronto Raptors franchise history. For Kyle Lowry, the greatest Raptor of all-time, it’s quite fitting that three of Final Four moments in the KLOE Madness bracket all took place on that fateful day. According to Sully and I, and all your Twitter votes, Game 6 of the NBA Finals was Lowry’s best game, included his best quote, and birthed his best moment. His best play also came from the Finals, but in Game 1, when he put the game away in the final minute.

We started this bracket with the intention of celebrating the career of Kyle Lowry. As the Raptors continued losing and the trade rumours grew, this tournament took on a life of its own. It reminded us not only of his past, but how he’s helped shape the Raptors’ present and future. Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, and OG Anunoby are the future of the franchise. Without Kyle’s leadership — as you saw throughout the 32 bracket entries — the Raptors are likely still the underachieving franchise that could never take that next step.

Instead, Lowry stands alone atop the proverbial mountain as the best to ever don a Raptors uniform. As his time winds down with Toronto, there’s no doubt we’ll be revisiting this bracket and re-living all the amazing moments he brought this franchise. There’s a bittersweet feeling that surrounds the conclusion of KLOE Madness, but a winner must be crowned! So, let’s get to the conclusion of this bracket!

You’ve most likely got the gist of our bracket, but feel free to check out the Sweet 16 winners, as well as the Elite 8 winners, before we get to our and your Final Four picks!

KLOE REGION (Best Moments)

(1) Lifting the Larry O’B

vs.

DON’T POKE THE BEAR REGION (Best Games)

(1) 2019 NBA Finals Game 6

(SA): Jay, we’ve come full circle! The last two moments from Kyle’s best moment and best game from the left side of the bracket come from the same game. Now, one could say that if Kyle’s NBA Finals Game 6 performance doesn’t happen, we maybe don’t get the Larry O’B momemnt. But fortunately, with Kyle being the Point God he is, he not only delivered the game of his life but also accomplished one of his greatest goals and gave us one of those moments we’ll never forget. It’s tough to pick one over the other but also not that tough: I’ve got to go with golden trophy being lifted and shined all over Oracle Arena and for the world to see.

(JR): I’m glad you mentioned Oracle Arena because I was recently chatting with some folks who used to call that place home — Thomas Bevilacqua and Daniel Hardee, previously of Golden State of Mind (our Warriors affiliate on SB Nation). When I mentioned this bracket, they joked that Game 6 was Lowry going bonkers in the first quarter and nothing else. While most Raptors fans would disagree with that assessment, it did provide the one argument, albeit very miniscule, that his Game 6 performance wasn’t “complete.” That’s not the only reason, but it’s reason enough that I agree, lifting the trophy deserves to be in the final.

It was a close race in our Twitter poll but the fans decided: 56 percent picked Kyle lifting the Larry O’B to advance to the Finals!

Winner: (1) Lifting the Larry O’B

KYLE L-L-L-L-LOWRY REGION (Best Plays)

(8) Icing Game 1 of the NBA Finals

vs.

WHEN KYLE SPEAKS, YOU LISTEN REGION (Best Quotes)

(2) “We Brought It Home, Baby”

(JR): Earlier in this bracket, Kyle Lowry’s Players’ Tribune article, “Home”, reminded us all why we love him. He could have just re-signed, ran through the motions of a press conference, and went about his day. Nope, that simply wasn’t enough. (I swear I’ll tie this back to the Finals) Kyle’s article spoke directly to Raptors fans, called Toronto his home, and lifted the spirits of the collective fan base, especially with his final words, “And if you start something? Man, you finish it.” So, when the Raptors climbed to the top of the NBA mountain, “we brought it home, baby,” carries more weight than icing Game 1 of the Finals. Kyle finished the job he set out to do. He followed through on a promise that seemed improbable at the time. Basketball was invented by a Canadian and, in the final year that matters (eff you, COVID), Kyle Lowry reunited the Larry O’Brien with basketball’s home!

(SA): I like how you brought back Kyle’s “Home” Players’ Tribune piece, Jay. We’re all glad and grateful that Kyle delivered on and completed his one goal as a Raptor because it has brought out the best memories for him and for us. These two moments are very different. We have one in which Kyle is very much the clutch player, pulling up from 30-feet to drain a dagger to clinch an NBA Finals game win; and the other where Kyle gives us one of many golden quotes during his Raptor career. Both important moments, sure, but one holds more significance for me: Kyle and his Raptors winning, and Lowry giving us that quote we all hear in the back of our minds. Also, you pointed out a special nugget, Jay — he brought the trophy back home where the game originated! A full circle, indeed.

There was one clear winner here in our Twitter poll as 65 percent of fans decided that Kyle’s quote of “We Brought it Home, Baby!” should advance to the Finals!

Winner: (2) “We Brought it Home, Baby!”

Just like that, we’re onto the Finals! While the two moments happened on a basketball court, how very Lowry-esque that neither happened with a ball in his hands! When we look back on his time with the Raptors, the winner of this matchup is very likely going to be the first thought that comes to mind when you think of the name, Kyle Lowry.

And here is the Finals matchup:

KLOE REGION (Best Moments)

(1) Lifting the Larry O’B

vs.

WHEN KYLE SPEAKS, YOU LISTEN REGION (Best Quotes)

(2) “We Brought It Home, Baby”

(SA): Here we are, Jay. We’re down to the two best moments from Kyle’s illustrious Raptor career — Kyle holding that Larry O’B over his head vs. his announcment to the world that he and the Toronto Raptors have brought the trophy home to Canada. That quote of his will forever feel surreal because before 2019, bringing an NBA title to Toronto, to Canada, was something that would only happen in a Raptor fan’s dream. But as thye say: actions speak louder than words, and so while we’ll always remember that quote, Lowry’s finest moment as a Raptor, something we’ll forever cherish, has got to be him raising the Larry O’B over his head.

(JR): As if he were lifting the trophy to his own bracket, was there every any doubt which entry would claim the title? Serge Ibaka contributed a lot to the Raptors franchise, but his biggest assist was snatching the trophy and ensuring that Kyle was the first Raptor player to hoist it. The Larry O’Brien trophy is not heavy (15.5 lbs) or tall (2 feet), but when Kyle slowly lifted it up, he wasn’t struggling with the physical weight, he was lifting up a country! When it’s all said and done, that is the lasting image that will endure the test of time, further validating his place in Raptors lore as the greatest Raptor of all-time!

There it is, folks. we have crowned a champion in the KLOE Madness Tournament. 73 percent of fans chose Kyle lifting the Larry O’B as his greatest moment as a Raptor!

Winner: (1) Lifting the Larry O’B

And now the complete look at how the entire bracket turned out:

There you have it! When Sully approached me with this ambitious idea, I was skeptical we could make it work. Maybe it’s the subject matter or maybe it’s the support we received from Daniel and all the readers’ votes/comments, but this was a helluva fun series!

It truly was an amazing time putting this altogether, Jay! Thank you all for riding along with us and for voting in our polls. We hope you enjoyed this series and were able to relive all of these amazing moments from Kyle Lowry’s incredible Raptors career.

And remember, whatever happens today at the trade deadline: KLOE forever!