Patrick Patterson pens fan letter to Toronto on eve of NBA playoffs
In a piece for The Players' Tribune, Raptor forward says team is ‘excited about winning’
Toronto Raptors forward Patrick Patterson is the latest pro athlete to pen a love letter to his adopted home, writing with pride in an online essay of the team's vocal fan base and the city's diversity.
In an essay on The Player's Tribune entitled "The North," Patterson says the team is ready to win after being swept by Washington in the first round of last year's playoffs.
The Raptors play their first game against the Indiana Pacers Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET.
"Heading into Game 1 of this series, I want fans to know that the energy and mindset of this team is completely different than it was last year. We aren't scared of losing. We're excited about winning," Patterson writes.
But much of his essay, like a recent one by young Blue Jays ace Marcus Stroman, pays tribute to Toronto's boisterous (and friendly) fans, diversity and, yes, the cold.
"I'll never forget the first time I got lost in the cold-ass weather up here," Patterson's essay opens.
He had just been traded from Sacramento and Google Maps had him walking in circles when he wasn't dressed for the cold.
A fan eventually walked up, asked if he was Patrick Patterson and helped him find his destination.
"I think that's probably the moment when I was fully sold. I knew that we had a good team, but that's when it became clear that this was a place I wanted to win for. This was a place worth winning for," Patterson writes.
"This was The North."
He describes the team's turnaround from a 7-12 record when he first arrived. They began to beat better teams, and Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan took the leadership reins.
"The fans started acting crazy at home, rocking our jerseys," he writes. "And then we started noticing more and more red in the stands at away games. Hell, the Canadians were the loudest people in the arena. Yo, you don't want to get a Canadian hyped. They reach a volume that I think might be illegal in the States."
It was then that the team started to gain an identity, and to understand that it represents a great city.
"But we don't only rep Toronto – this is Canada's team. And we don't care if you overlook us," Patterson writes.
"Canadians are used to being overlooked by Americans. But that doesn't mean we won't beat you."
Patterson says that his favourite thing about Toronto is seeing "so many different faces."
"When I walk out of the tunnel at a Raptors game, of course I see white people, but they're right next to Asians and Africans and Pacific Islanders and many other people from all around the world. And all of them are wearing the same jersey, cheering for the same team," Patterson writes.
"It's a beautiful thing to see, man."
He wraps up his post by vowing to "show the world that Toronto isn't just a great basketball city — it's the best basketball city."