A few Raptors players returned to Toronto Saturday night for the first time after winning the NBA championship south of the border, while others delayed their return with a stop in Las Vegas.
Raptors owner Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment initially said the whole team would arrive at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport around 9 p.m. eastern time, but changed that outlook on Saturday afternoon, saying most of the players would extend their trip.
Team members Fred VanVleet, Danny Green, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol, Jeremy Lin and head coach Nick Nurse returned Saturday to dozens of fans greeting them and a water salute when their plane landed at Pearson.
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After defeating the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Thursday in Oakland, the team flew from San Francisco to Las Vegas.
Drake, who is the Raptors’ global ambassador, later joined the team after flying his private jet to Vegas from Toronto.
Videos posted on social media by the resort Wynn Las Vegas on Friday show Drake entering a club with the Larry O’Brien trophy, followed by members of the Raptors.
Employees of the club are seen holding up signs that spell out “WE THE NORTH” as the team walks by, while fans also cheer them on.
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Additional videos posted on Instagram by Raptors forward Pascal Siakam show members of the team drinking champagne on a stage in a club as Drake hypes up the crowd while introducing the 2019 NBA champions.
Since Thursday night, a number of Raptors have also posted photos on social media of themselves with the Larry O’Brien trophy.
Drake too posted a photo of him with the trophy and videos of balloons that spell out “NBA champions” on his private jet.
There is no word on when the rest of the team is expected to return, but a victory parade is currently still scheduled for Monday.
Tens of thousands of fans are expected to line the parade route throughout downtown Toronto, with the event scheduled to start at 10 a.m. at Exhibition Place and end around 1:30 p.m. at Nathan Phillips Square.
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Global will have full coverage of the parade live on Global Television, Globalnews.ca, and Global News Radio.
-With files from the Canadian Press
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