Former Raptor says NBA players don't stay in Toronto because of Canada
If soon-to-be free agent Kawhi Leonard decides to leave Toronto next month after bringing the Raptors through their most successful season in franchise history, it won't be our city's fault.
Los Angeles Clippers Guard Lou Williams, who played for the Toronto Raptors during the 2014-2015 NBA season, recently shed some light upon why Canada's only NBA team has trouble retaining huge stars for very long.
"Once you're there, you'll love playing for the Raptors, you'll love playing for the country," said the 32-year-old NBA veteran of Toronto in an episode of Gilbert Arenas and Mike Botticello's No Chill Podcast published Wednesday
"But that fourth, fifth month into the season, you're like 'goddamn, I want to go home.'"
With Kawhi Leonard’s free agency decision looming, LA Clipper Lou Williams talks about how Americans don’t want to play in Canada 🤔 pic.twitter.com/f8RjOivOl9— 6ixBuzzTV (@6ixbuzztv) June 27, 2019
You see, not only is Toronto cold most of the time, Canada is a foreign country for the majority of players in the NBA. There's also the issue of high taxes.
"When you play in Toronto, you feel like you're playing overseas," explained Williams to Arenas and Botticello. "We can't wait to go on the road sometimes, just to be in America."
"It's like little [things] you don't think of, like the Channels on your TV, phone bill, you got to get a Canadian bank account. [Stuff] like that that people don't think about. That [stuff] is s hard. And then you have kids, you're raising your kids out in Canada..."
"One you're there, you're like 'oh, this is dope.' But the hard part is keeping guys there."
- Lou Williams, 2019 pic.twitter.com/jvFvvfJeyE— H. (@hanswolfff) June 27, 2019
The podcast hosts did commend Toronto for its fans and atmosphere, noting that players may be more interested in joining the team now that they've seen what the city is like through the NBA Finals.
When they credited Drake for creating that raucous atmosphere, Williams interjected to say that, while the artist should get "some credit," Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan (who was traded last year for Leonard) should get more.
"Nobody but Kyle and DeMar," said Williams. "Nobody was paying attention to Raptors basketball until they put that on their shoulders like 'we're gonna be a contender."
All three parties agree that Drake isn't enough to warrant any player coming to Canada for, but maybe Leonard will want to stay for all the free stuff and you know, the team.
Sure sucks playing here pic.twitter.com/ywJn4EGzmF— Gbone (@G_Bone_) June 27, 2019
As news of what Williams said spreads in Canada, local NBA fans are renouncing their love for him as a player.
"Lou Williams' comments encompass what America stands for right now. Just throw random hot takes around and hope for clicks," wrote one fan on Twitter. "It is a privilege and honour to live in Toronto and Canada."
"That's right Lou Williams, opening a bank account in Canada is so hard," wrote another. "Not to mention that raising your kids in Canada means the chances that they'll make it through the school day without getting shot are really high."
Others are suggesting this is just another veiled attempt by the Clippers to attract Kawhi.
We'll see how that works out for them in a few days.
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