New Toronto Raptors player pens love letter to city and people are super excited
After a nightmare season in Tampa and the loss of arguably the greatest Raptors player of all time in Kyle Lowry, basketball fans in Toronto are finally getting excited again thanks to the team's new #4 draft pick, Scottie Barnes.
Barnes' brief romance with the city has been generating buzz among fans, as the 20-year-old small forward from West Palm Beach, Florida, gets to know his adoptive home north of the border.
An Instagram reel of a visibly excited Barnes exploring the city's sights with other recent Raptors additions Goran Dragic, Freddie Gillespie, Ishmail Wainwright, and Sam Dekker gave fans plenty to talk about this week.
Scottie Barnes on IG Live walking the streets of T.O. With Sam Dekker, Freddie Gillespie, Ish Wainwright….and Goran Dragic lol pic.twitter.com/qTy4S0zqkg— OG's Scarf (@OGsHeadband1) September 15, 2021
Now, Barnes is showing even more admiration for Toronto and its fanbase, penning an article in The Players Tribune where he professes his love for the city. And fans are just eating it up.
The newest potential star for the team can feel the love from fans, mentioning in the article how "this fanbase has already embraced me…. I'm really starting to feel like a Raptor for real."
"There's nobody like Toronto Raptor fans. I promise you. Not even 24 hours after I got drafted I had like 80–100k followers JUST from Raptors fans."
Even other Raptors are loving the guy.
Goddamn it there is a Reddit post of some guy who shared a flight with Goran today.— Kate 4 Barnes & Birds (@KateBDoll) September 17, 2021
Goran flew economy with a connecting flight to Miami. GORAN THERE ARE DIRECT FLIGHTS TO MIAMI MY GUY! The Delta points aren’t worth it Goran 😭
He loves Scottie Barnes. pic.twitter.com/o1sLv2bjat
And the affection among fans and players clearly stems from more than just his potential star power.
Scottie Barnes literally wore a hat, started talking like a Toronto mans, hit that disgusting turnaround baseline jumper & he’s already the fan favourite.— Certified Lover Bail (@notbailnope) September 17, 2021
I love this kid
Barnes has been spending time getting familiar with the city and our culture. The rising star is already being welcomed by some of the biggest names in the Canadian hip-hop scene.
"Touring the city and the facilities and all that. Visiting the CN Tower and looking out the glass floor. And of course, visiting Toronto's other most famous landmark, Drake's house."
Scottie said being in Toronto and eating jerk with Kardinal felt like coming home— Kate 4 Barnes & Birds (@KateBDoll) September 17, 2021
Scottie Barnes is already ROTY 😭
Barnes closes with something we're still not used to hearing as sports fans in this city, saying, "I couldn’t be happier to be here in Toronto."
Scottie Barnes is going to own this city. What a delightful guy. https://t.co/DZXdYlvhSk— Rob Centa (@RobCenta) September 17, 2021
And it seems the fans are just as happy to have him here.
scottie barnes:— Jessica Aldos (@Jessicuhhh) September 17, 2021
In the power vacuum left by Lowry's off-season departure, fans are thrilled to have a new reason to get hyped up about a team that has had its core gutted since a now-distant 2019 championship win.
Scottie Barnes has already impressed in the NBA's summer league, though fans won't get to see him suit up at Scotiabank Arena for another couple of weeks. The Raptors' first preseason game is happening on Oct. 4, and Barnes is sure to see a warm reception at his first home appearance.
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