Monday, August 13, 2007

Air Canada Center - Home of the Raptors and the Leafs

Lack of news leads to lack of posts. The dog days of summer is not the best time to talk basketball, but we do have some international basketball to talk about soon so that is good for a few posts. Until then, here is a repost of an older entry that you might have missed.

On the last game of the season this year for the Toronto Raptors, it was fan apprication night. I don't think us fans appreciated losing the Philly that night but whatever, thats not what is being discussed today. What is being discussed deals with what happened before the game started. The Raptors, of course, were the atlantic divison champions this past season. To honour this a nice banner reflecting that achievement was hung into the rafters at the ACC. The Air Canada Center is home to both the Toronto Raptors and the Toronto Maple Leafs and also a Lacrosse team called the Toronto Rock. Now if you walked into the ACC not knowing this, you would think it was only a hockey arena. That is because hanging in the rafters right above the middle of the arena is about 10-15 Stanley cup championship banners and another 10-15 banners for both retired players and also honoured players from hockey. Off on the side wall is a banner for the Rock in which holds the years for 5 or 6 championships they have won and also on this far off all is the banner for the raptors and also one to honour the Raps inaugural season.

So the issue has become this...should there be a banner hanging in the rafters of the ACC to honour the Raptors winning the atlantic divison this year? The argument is that it's not a big enough deal to receive such an honour. I can agree with that, as much as it is nice to win the divison. Winning it all is the only thing that truly matters for basketball. But if we are going to take down the banner for the divison title, then we must also take down about 10 of the hockey banners hanging up for players who are "honoured". Let's get this straight...retired numbers can hang. But honoured players??? Now we have both retired numbers and "honoured" numbers for Leaf players hanging in the middle of the ACC. The Rock has all of their championships condensed onto one banner and stuck off to the side while the Leafs have everyone and their mother and grandmother hanging in the middle being honoured or retired. And this is the issue, this is a hockey town that is beginning to see more then just hockey success.

I won't argue for the Rock because I don't care about Lacrosse, I care about basketball. If a lacrosse fan had an issue with the treatment they received, I could not blame them. Imagine if it was suggested that the 12 or so championship banners for the stanley cup that hang proudly right above the middle of the ACC, it was suggested that they just use one banner and indicate all the years on that one piece of fabric. And that banner will be proudly hanging off in the corner of the ACC. Toronto fans reading this...what do you think would happen if that was suggested? This is a hockey town. Don't mess with the mighty mighty (no championship since 67) Leafs. But here comes the Raptors. A new franchise and a different sport that is all of a sudden having success. But not only is it having success, but also a growing fan base. Avg this year was 18,259 for attendance at the ACC and a crowd that was more into the games then ever before. Sometimes during the Raptor games, with the excitement of the game itself and the crowd into the action, it was easy to forget that this was not the Raptors home but it was the Leafs home that the Raptors rent. That at least is how some people in the city want it.

As the Raptors see more success and the young fanbase starts to want more respect out of the city which is filled with the older Maple Leaf followers, I really think it boils down to this....Championship banners deserve the respect. Not division titles or conference titles or anything like that. Those are the only things that should be hanging in the middle of any arena. Retired numbers? They can be up also. Off to the side and the corners of the arena. The banners of honoured players? No business what so ever being hung up in any arena, especially in the middle. And this is where, even though I don't agree with it, I am more then happy to see that division title banner for the Raps stuck off to the side of teh ACC. Because this building is not a hockey building. It's not just a basketball building ether. It is time to respect that fact. Ether the waste of space "honoured" players gets moved to the hallways where they belong or we get division title banners. I am waiting to see what happens when the Raps win a championship, which is more likely to happen now then the Leafs winning a cup. Is that banner for an NBA championship stuck off the the side as well? Cause if that is even considered, you will be seeing me one day, hanging in the rafters with a lighter in hand. Burning every single one of those "honoured" banners wasting space in the ACC.

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