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Tonight we’re all Raptors fans

Let’s root for the team shedding a history of being a joke.

Toronto Raptors v Washington Wizards Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Use this post as an open thread for the NBA Finals Game 5. The game tips off at 6 PM PT on ABC.

The Toronto Raptors were a joke. The team born with jagged 90s pinstripes and a giant cartoon dinosaur. The team that stars left behind. Vince Carter. Tracy McGrady. Chris Bosh. The team that drafted Andrea Bargnani first overall. The team that could never win a Game One. The team that choked in the playoffs.

The Toronto Raptors are no longer a joke.

The Raptors still need to win one more game to secure their spot as champions, but the perception of the Raptors is different now. A month ago nobody was sure if Kawhi Leonard would stay, but now the assumption is that he will. A month ago nobody thought the Raptors could be serious contenders, now we’ll all be shocked if Golden State can come back.

It’s an amazing turn for a franchise that spent years as a punchline. It’s what makes this league great. Any team can rise to greatness with the right combination of smart decisions and luck.

The Sacramento Kings aren’t following the same blueprint as the Raptors. The Raptors were a playoff team for years before taking an enormous chance in trading for Kawhi Leonard. The Kings have some young talent and are trying to make the playoffs for the first time in 13 years. But the Raptors are reminding us that a franchise can change its fortunes and achieve the unthinkable. Any franchise can go from punchline to underdog darling.

Let’s go, Raptors. Close it out at home. Take down Goliath. Be champions.