How do you make an arena feel like your own when it's over 2,000 kilometers away from home? Bringing a reminder of your finest memories is a good place to start.
The Toronto Raptors appear to have done just that with their home-away-from-home in Tampa Bay. Prior to tipoff of the team's final pre-season game against the Miami Heat on Friday night, photos surfaced of the Raptors' temporary arena with an unmistakable piece of decor: Toronto's 2019 World Champions banner.
"It helps," Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said. "It certainly gives you a boost, just a little bit of juice or energy or whatever and that [banner] was about the second thing I noticed when I walked in. I was like, ‘Hey, the banner.’ it’s kinda cool and you get into a conversation like will they leave it here and they probably should because we’re gonna commemorate the year and all that stuff, but it’s nice to have the touches of home."
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 18, 2020
It's the latest step the team has taken to pull off a one-month miracle, creating a new home base into somewhere the team can be comfortable.
Earlier in the pre-season, footage surfaced of Masai Ujiri placing a toonie into the hardwood of the team's practice court for good luck.
Toronto's first game of the regular season takes place on Dec. 23 against the New Orleans Pelicans.