It may be true what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
But hopefully that doesn’t apply to the Larry O’Brien Trophy or NBA champion Toronto Raptors.
Everybody knows it’s not easy to escape Sin City with the gold in tact.
And now it has been reported the Raptors party junket stopover in the desert is going into overtime — news that developed just before they were to depart McCarran International Airport Saturday afternoon.
The team cancelled a scheduled photo-op at the North Lounge private airport terminal on Derry Rd. shortly before The Canadian Press reported about the Vegas extension.
But flight trackers showed the Delta plane was still at the gate.
As long as they and that trophy are home in “The Six” by 10 a.m. Monday. That prize possession is about to immigrate north from the United States to Canada for the first time in history.
Vegas is never an easy place to leave. The photo evidence explains why.
An instagram posted by Raptors global ambassador Drake, who recently signed to a residency at Wynn’s XS Nightclub, show the team on stage popping champagne and dancing with glee. There’s even a shot of “Six God” Drake with the trophy — deftly posted on the very day he dropped two new tracks.
Looked like fun.
But this party is just getting started!
When Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, Coach Nick Nurse and crew eventually get back with that trophy no one will complain about setting off airport metal detectors.
Raptor Fans will soon get their chance to see the coveted trophy as well.
Toronto has had championship parades in recent years, including ones for MLS champs the Toronto FC and CFL champs the Toronto Argos. But this one is expected to be ten times bigger having been 52 years since Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup and 26 years since the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series.
Mayor John Tory, who was at Jurassic Park for every game, says lots of planning is going into the Raptors parade, which begins at 10 a.m. Monday at the CNE’s Prince’s Gate and will make it’s way along Lake Shore Blvd., up York St., over to University Ave. and up to Nathan Phillips Square.
The parade, which will feature double-decker buses, is about the loyal fans.
“This means so much to our city and to many in Canada, and we are looking forward to showing everyone the Larry O’Brien Trophy on Monday,” Raptors President Masai Ujiri said.
Speaking of Ujiri, the authorities are still investigating the incident involving a Sheriff’s deputy after the game when it is alleged the officer was pushed in altercation near the court. Videos show Ujiri had appropriate credentials in his hand but witness accounts indicate he was pushed first and not asked to present them.
Whatever happened, the Oakland authorities would be wise to drop this minor incident and not rain on the Raptors parade. This was Masai’s lifetime moment. He should have been allowed to enjoy it without being accosted.
My friend Rob Godfrey was at the game and told me security in the Oracle Arena was “very aggressive” toward Raptors fans and at times were “unreasonable” to them.
“They were over the top,” said Godfrey, who can’t understand how police were not as exercised about the Golden State Warriors co-owner manhandling Kyle Lowry earlier in the series but being so stringent on this “when the truth of it is Masai had every right to be on that floor with his team.”
All of this seems to be nothing more than sour grapes over the Raptors beating the champion Warriors three times on their home court.
It would be nice if this was dropped before this parade so the Raptors, Ujiri and the entire city can just focus on having fun.
“Bringing the NBA championship to Toronto is the realization of a goal for our team and for our players, and we are thrilled to be able to celebrate together with our fans,” said Ujiri.
Your fans are waiting. Bring that trophy home!