The Raptors arrived home from Philadelphia Sunday morning but their time in Toronto will not be long. The team will repack their bags this afternoon and depart for London, England later tonight in preparation for their overseas showdown against the Orlando Magic on Thursday.
This game marks the second time the Raptors have traveled to the O2 Arena in London for a regular season contest. The club played two games there against the New Jersey Nets in March 2011.
I had a chance to chat with a few of the Raptors about their upcoming trip…..
ES: This is the second time for you – as a member of the Raptors – heading to London...
DD: "It should be fun. I went so long ago but it was fun then. It was really fun. But this time around – being more of an established team and, I think, people know us even more as players now – I'm looking forward to going over there and putting on a show for the fans."
ES: The schedule was pretty jammed last time but did you do any exploring – anything you hope to do or see this time around?
DD: "I didn't see anything – cause as soon as we go there I was so tired. I woke up and it was night time. But this time around – being a family guy; being able to take my family over there – I'll try to see more stuff, mainly for them."
ES: Are you looking forward to heading to London?
TR: "It's going to be fun. It's my first time over there so it's going to be an experience. I want to see Big Ben – and take some pictures."
"I've been to Asia, that's it. I haven't been to Africa or Europe. It's all going to be a first for me."
ES: Are you concerned about fatigue – given a mid-season flight overseas and having to deal with the time change(s) etc?
TR: "It's going to be different – but we'll be fine. We've got a lot of time to relax so we should be fine."
ES: Are you excited about this upcoming trip to London?
CJ: "I'm looking forward to getting there but I'm not looking forward to the flight!"
ES: The last six months have been busy for you – jet-setting to places like Puerto Rico and Mexico City (and more) with the Canadian team and now heading to the UK with the Raptors...
CJ: "I'm a world-class traveller (laughing). I don't mind travelling. I like to see different parts of this world – learn about different cultures and countries. I'm looking forward to seeing the NBA fans out (in London)."
"When I was with the Spurs we went -- for pre-season -- to Germany and to Turkey. I'm excited to go to London now."
ES: Is there anything you're looking forward to seeing or doing in London? Playing the tourist?
CJ: "The Chelsea game. I'm a soccer fan – a football fan I should say! (NOTE: Joseph and some teammates/team staff will be attending the game on Wednesday)
ES: What are you looking forward to most about this upcoming trip to England?
KL: "I'm excited man. To be over in another country and to grow our individual brand and grow our organization's brand and to grow the NBA brand is always a pleasure and an honour for us to go do that."
ES: Dwane Casey said, in a way, this trip to London is sort of like having a mini mid-season training camp...
KL: "If it's a mini training camp, I might not take that trip (laughing)."
"We're all taking our families over there and we're all going to be together (as a team). It's kind of like you're away – but you're together. Everybody needs to understand that it's a business trip – but take it in – but we've got to make sure we go out and play the game."
ES: Have you been to London before and is there anything specific you are planning to do or see?
KL: "I've never been; this is my first time. London, watch out!"
"I was going to try to go to Paris – seeing as the train ride is only a couple of hours – but I'll see how much (free) time we actually get."