As we settle into the postseason, there is a repetitive antsy anticipation for October on the loose. That sixty to zero brake shake is always a shocker especially after a season that drove the city of Toronto to an incredible level of participation and pride.
Welcome to the nineteenth offseason in franchise history. I hope you’re settling in alright and I promise that it somehow always flies by. If my #TBT Spidey Sense is correct, this time next year we’ll be throwing it back to the very first Raptors Day in the city of Toronto. As for this moment in time, let’s go back to the very beginning.
On this day, May the 15th back in 1996, after the Raptors concluded their inaugural season, rookie Damon Stoudamire stood beside GM Isiah Thomas at the SkyDome Hotel in front of Toronto media and received the Schick NBA Rookie of the Year Award. This followed two Rookie of the Month honours and the MVP title in the Rookie All-Star Game. Stoudamire received 76 of the possible 113 votes, ahead of Portland Trail Blazers big man Arvydas Sobonis who received just 17.
Stoudamire’s mighty rookie season (and Mighty Mouse tattoo on his arm) gave him his ‘Mighty Mouse’ nickname from fans and the mighty rookie honours in which he was surprised by. But Isiah Thomas wasn’t surprised and after making Stoudamire the Raptors first draft pick to hesitant reaction from fans, Isiah sealed Stoudamire’s stellar rookie showcase with a kiss.
Here is the story from eighteen years ago today: