Jock Talk with JD: A dedication to DeMar DeRozan
Jock Talk – Where loyalty matters.
Starting a brand new day after an early workout, I get a notification from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski stating the Toronto Raptors, and the San Antonio Spurs have agreed in principle to a trade involving DeMar DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard, plus so and so. What! I sat shocked. I couldn’t believe what I just read. Instantly I scoured the net to verify what the most dependable NBA source just dropped on the basketball world. And there it was. One after another, reliable tweets confirming the biggest deal in Raptors history has been made. I’ll get to that in a bit. But first, let me continue in relaying my initial thoughts upon knowing DeMar had been traded.
Bewildered. Frustrated. Vex. How could this be? Why? What the…
How could the Raptors trade the most valuable asset on our squad for a great player who most certainly is a one-year rental? Even if we had Leonard under control for a few more years, I wouldn’t make this trade. Yet, in saying so, I don’t make sense do I? Is that not what a team is suppose to do? Get better? Absolutely! Still, DeMar was an untouchable in my eyes. Finally a high caliber player embracing all what Canada has to offer. No other foreign NBA player embodied the culture like DeMar DeRozan did. He re-upped when he could’ve left for LA, twice. He brought respectability back when others would trash us. Who else did that? Certainly not T-Mac, who took off for Orlando. Chris Bosh? Nope. He instantly boarded a plane with the chance to play with LeBron James down in Miami. And of course not Vince Carter, who whined and moaned his way out to the swamplands of New Jersey. Not DeMar though. Nah, he was the only one who seized the opportunity in appreciating he need not search for greener pastures than the one he was currently living in. Hence my statement of this being the biggest trade in Raptors history. Arguably, when Kawhi is healthy he’s a top five player in the association. On paper these two combined have an impressive resume. Known league wide as good men of noble character.
I’ve been watching DeMar since high school right up to USC. He was raw, fearless and had lots of confidence in his game. When the Raptors selected DeMar with the ninth pick in 2009 NBA draft, I was elated. I knew from the get go the Raptors got themselves an athletic wingman similar to how VC played the game. DeMar’s participation in the NBA’s slam-dunk competition later confirmed that notion. Straight outta Compton! You could see the militancy in his interviews and how he interacted with other players in the league. A no nonsense type of player who is ready get it poppin’ in a humble way. Say less, did lots. A self-admitted gym rat, DeMar spent many a nights perfecting his game throughout the years. Each year he would elevate his game to a new level by adding a new element. This former McDonald’s All-American never rested on his laurels. In order to be the best, you have to beat the best. DeMar understood that thoroughly and made it a priority to be successful in doing so.
Yet the King from Akron wasn’t hearing any of that. LeBron and the Cavs reigned on.
Seemingly people painted DeMar as an all-star during the season but a no-show at times in the playoffs. I personally think that is an unfair portrayal. Did he have a few lacklustre games? Yes! And so has just about any other NBA all-star of regular player. Only the super greats have come out unscathed during playoff runs. And that’s why they’re considered the all-time greatest ballers. His Airness, the greatest of them all, struggled mightily to get past them Bad Boys from Detroit in his early years. Yet Jordan, his teammates and Bulls management stayed the course in propelling their foundation to championship heights. “Loyal to the soil.” A phrase Compton native Kendrick Lamar utters lots, and apparently not the case here. Raptors organization pretty much made it clear their only obligation is to the wins and losses column, their stakeholders and the board of governors. That I see.
Masai is no Messiah to me.
I’ve been shaking my head and taking shots at our lame GM since he first showed signs of a used car salesman. I won’t bother listing the bs I spotted along the way of Masai Ujiri’s path to futility. The man is not to be trusted. He is motivated by his own ego. And uses players to attend his off-court endeavours. You don’t give your word to DeMar than go back on it (a week later) because the Spurs insisted on getting DeMar in return. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy deal to make, that’s why you don’t make it. How can you sell Kawhi Leonard to Toronto if you just sold out the man who helped put Toronto on the NBA map? It’s like the girl who dumps her faithful boyfriend for a hotter guy who’s in town only for the weekend. Bad move. First Ujiri fires the NBA coach of the year, and now he trades our best player? There goes team chemistry. Bet! Oh, and because Kawhi is immensely private and we don’t know the condition of his health, who knows what he’s able to still do on the court. I predict…
I’ll miss seeing number 10 suit up for the home side. I’m sure his boy Kyle Lowry and cast share the same sediment.
I will remember lots about DeMar DeRozan and his nine years as a Raptor. The clutch shots he hit, the games he lit up the scoreboard. His smile and grace in being an all-star, without acting like a prick. DeMar was one of us. An everyday man who had his own share of struggles. Him opening up to the public about his fight with depression and mental health was courageously amazing. So many people were touched by his candid speaking. Sparking Kevin Love to step up and share his own personal battles. NBA commish Adam Silver, followed suit by running commercials throughout last season’s playoffs about the importance of mental health. A great opening to encouraging more dialogue in helping those in need whether you’re a professional athlete or not. A man for the people is what DeMar is. His relentless work in the community is truly admirable. And he does so without grandstanding.
Thank you. Thank you for the great memories you left here in Toronto. Thank you for high-fiving my daughter and taking a picture with her at the 2016 All-Star game. Thank you. You created a throwback Thursday moment for her. Matter of fact, DeMar DeRozan created a lot of moments here in Toronto. All of which we will cherish forever.
One love Deebo! #Comp10 #ProveEm
Jock Talk with JD: Track of the Week
My track of the week goes to Baka Not Nice. That’s my broski for life. Been down since we was young bucks. Love that he’s getting to shine on a big platform. I say to him all the time, keep going fam, don’t stop for nobody. Happy birthday to Milli too! This track here, “Live Up To My Name” goes too hard!
As always, thanks for reading. Be blessed to all.
See ya next week!