Toronto

Drake's CBC mic drop and other highlights of the Raptors championship parade

Whether you're a lifelong basketball fan, a bandwagoner or don't know the first thing about the game, there's no denying the Raptors' NBA Finals win has brought the country together in a way unlike almost any other.

'These moments are few and far between,' said the Toronto rapper in a speech that gave fans all the feels

A crowd of at least one million packed Toronto, turning much of the downtown core into a sea of red, white and black in celebration of the Raptors' NBA Championship victory. (Albert Leung/CBC)

It was a day Canadians won't soon forget. 

Whether you're a lifelong basketball fan, a bandwagoner (not judging, promise!) or don't know the first thing about the game, there's no denying the Raptors' NBA Finals win has brought the country together in a way unlike almost any other sports event.

And nowhere was that more apparent than in downtown Toronto on Monday where more than a million people took to the streets to cheer on the team as they returned to the city after a history-making win against the Golden State Warriors, and to bask in the glow of the team's victory.

Here are five of the standout highlights from the day's celebrations:

1. Drake's mic drop

CBC reporter Greg Ross took his chances on live television by tossing his mic up to rapper Drake, who was perched at the edge of the team's double-decker parade bus.

And let's just say Drake happily obliged. 

"Coming to you live, from the big city with the greatest in the world of champions," said Drake, before making a quip about Ross's "nice plaid jacket."

The rest, you've got to see for yourself.

Drake takes over the CBC mic live on television. 0:58

2. Kawhi's 'A-ha-ha-ha-ha' moment

The usually quiet Raptors forward and superstar Kawhi Leonard proved he really is a fun guy, taking to the stage at Nathan Phillips Square to thank fans for the warm welcome to the Toronto team and to Canada.

Leonard joined the team only in the last year, after what was an emotional decision to trade out the team's best scorer DeMar DeRozan. That fateful decision may well have led the team to the championship. 

"I just want to say thank you all for welcoming me here after the trade with open arms," the two-time Finals MVP and world champion said as fans cheered, many of them hopeful the star player with remain on with the team.

Leonard has said nothing about his future so far. He becomes a free agent at the end of the month.

"Enjoy this moment and have fun with it," Leonard said before wrapping his speech with the signature laugh, delighting the crowd. 

Kawhi Leonard thanks the crowd at Nathan Phillips Square for welcoming him to Canada with open arms. 0:54

3. Fans shut the city down

Toronto came to a virtual standstill as crowds packed the city's downtown core turning major arteries into seas of revelers dressed in red, white and black.

Things were so jammed that some fans took to Nathan Phillips Square's arches above the skating rink/water feature to catch a glimpse of the festivities.

(Richard Agecoutay/CBC)
And on the Gardiner Expressway, a main thoroughfare in downtown Toronto, drivers were seen pulling over, getting out of their vehicles and snapping photos of the team as the parade bus travelled into the city.
The Toronto Raptors' bus paraded downtown for several hours, taking over Toronto streets in celebration of their NBA Championship win. 0:46

This was the scene as fans lined up along the exit ramps.

(Albert Leung/CBC)

4. Cradling in contemplation

Leonard was seen on the parade bus with his girlfriend Kishele Shipley and daughter by his side. 

But when he had a moment alone, Leonard looked contemplative cradling his MVP trophy in his arms. 

The pair's daughter was napping as the double-decker made its way along the parade route.

Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard holds his playoffs MVP trophy as he celebrates while his daughter Kaliyah naps. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

5. 'Give somebody a hug today'

Drake was giving fans all the feels closing out the official celebrations with an emotional speech about what the championship win means for his hometown Toronto, calling it one of the most important on-stage moments of his life.

"I want you to know that these moments are few and far between. So today I know you'll get on your phone and you'll look at your pictures, you'll look at the clips online ... but right now this is what I want you to do.

"I want you to turn to somebody that you don't know and I want you to give them a hug, I want you to tell them, 'Congratulations,' because we're from the greatest city in the world and we are the 2019 NBA Champions of the world."

"Give somebody a hug today!" he told the crowd. "I like to see all that love."

Drake asked the crowd at Nathan Phillips Square to hug each other to celebrate the Raptors' NBA Championship win. 2:31

Want even more revelry?

If you missed out on the celebration or if you just want to relive all of the magic, we've got a 50-minute video recap for you right here. So go ahead and soak in all the championship glory.

Hundreds of thousands of people packed downtown streets for a victory parade, ending with the team taking to the stage outside Toronto City Hall. 50:28