Former NBA star defends Toronto as one of the best cities in the league
A former NBA star-turned-sports commentator has issued a public defence of Toronto, calling it one of the greatest cities in the league after a fellow analyst suggested that it was somehow an unwelcoming environment for African-American athletes.
FOX Sports analyst Chris Broussard made an enemy of Canadian NBA fans this week when the 53-year-old commentator claimed during a televised FS1 sports segment on Monday that Toronto would be a bad fit for 12-time NBA All-Star, two-time Finals MVP, and prized trade target, Kevin Durant.
Why? Because, according to Broussard, "it's not America, and you feel it when you're there, especially as an African American."
Fellow analysts looked visibly confused as Broussard explained that "It's a different situation than African Americans are used to being in," and wondered, "can they keep African American superstars there?"
Typical American reaction by Broussard here. Dude has no clue that Toronto is basically the most multicultural city in North America. I’m pretty sure KD would easily embrace the city (as well country) and vice versa. #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/sjw0W0Ah2h— Doc Naismith (@DocNaismith) July 4, 2022
On Wednesday evening, former NBA player and current broadcast commentator Richard Jefferson issued a personal message on multiple social media channels, shooting down Broussard's critique and defending Toronto as a favourite destination for players.
My thoughts on Toronto! pic.twitter.com/PaDQ8z0MAD— Richard Jefferson (@Rjeff24) July 6, 2022
"Hey, listen I just want to go on record here and say as a media member and a player for 17 years, Toronto is one of the greatest cities I've ever been to. It is one the most beautiful cities, the people, the energy, the food."
Jefferson explains that players refer to Toronto as "the nice New York," which is really saying something as "players love going to New York."
"And I'm going to say this as an African-American player. When you look at a place like Toronto and you're like 'there's so many different types of people here and it seems there is a positive energy everywhere you go,' I'm going to say that [Broussard's statement] is false."
"I have not talked to Chris about this but I'm going to come to the defence of Toronto and say 'Toronto, you guys are alright in my book.'"
He goes on to tout Toronto as "one of the top five cities in the NBA."
Jefferson closes out his message with one final rebuke of Broussard’s claims, saying, "That for me is so false, not true. Not in my experience. I've never heard a player say anything about that [about Toronto] in my entire 20+ years involved in the NBA."
Richard Jefferson is not the only NBA personality defending the city, as former Toronto Raptor and current Baloncesto Superior Nacional player Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has also commented on Broussard’s questionable statement.
Yeaaaa this a stretch… Canadians love you like you grew up there… he’s tripping https://t.co/l6dQA52ZXA— R.HollisJefferson (@IAmCHAP24) July 5, 2022
Another former Raptor and 2019 champ, Norman Powell, called Broussard out on Twitter with a lone blue cap emoji, suggesting the bold statements about Canada and Toronto are lies.
In possibly the funniest takedown, current Raptor and Canadian-born player Chris Boucher called Broussard a "goofy ass boy" on Instagram.
Broussard's remarks come amid a firestorm of media speculation after league insiders reported last week that star Kevin Durant requested a trade from his failed superteam, the Brooklyn Nets.
Toronto has reportedly risen to second place in the running for the 33-year-old megastar, and despite NBA talking heads' tendency to ignore the lone Canadian market in the league, the Raptors have been at the forefront of Durant trade rumours.
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