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How The Toronto Raptors Nearly Went Extinct

The Golden State Warriors dynasty faced the Toronto Huskies in the 2019 NBA Fi… wait what?? We mean the Toronto Raptors, but that was almost the real deal.

Sound weird? How about the Toronto Towers? Toronto Hogs? Toronto Scorpions? Toronto Bobcats? Toronto Dragons? What the heck is even going on out here? Well, they nearly happened in 1993.

Back when Toronto was awarded an NBA franchise in 1993, a “Name Game” was held so fans could have a chance to name the team. Over 2,000 ideas were submitted for the contest, but only 10 were truly considered.

Could you imagine? Vince Carter flying through the air wearing a Toronto Hogs jersey? Yeah, me neither, without photoshop that is.

The nickname for Toronto is hogtown, but come on man! We need something that’ll sweep us off our feet!

The Raptors name clawed its way to victory due to the debut of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, which sparked dino-mania throughout the planet. In fact, the Raptors were not the only Jurassic-themed name considered. Like, I mean, even the Toronto T-Rex was in the mix.

Kids loved Jurassic Park. What’s not to love? Crazy scientists wanted to re-engineer dinosaurs for amusement parks. Kids were hooked and tickets were sold.

And with that, we have our humbling inception of the Toronto Raptors.

It wasn’t just the start of a franchise name; it was the launch of a movement. By 2014, the area outside the arena was coined Jurassic Park, and now it’s more populated than the building itself. Fans come there for an experience unlike any other NBA venue. Somewhat to what happens outside of stadiums on Saturdays outside of college football games, Jurassic Park is a meeting ground for fans. A place where they can greet each other, talk about the team, or even make some new friends.

But, stand out there on your own risk. Toronto isn’t the warmest place for dinosaurs lovers, especially in the winter.



Circling back a bit, ironically, the Huskies were actually the city’s first pro basketball team in 1946.

They finished the season with an abysmal record of 22-38, failed to attract fans, and Toronto lost the team after just 60 games. That’s not fun or ideal. Give a city a chance to get going a little bit, eh? While you’re at it, throw a team in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Oh. Wait. What is this entire post about again? Oh. That’s correct. The time the Toronto Raptors nearly never existed in its current form.

Anyway, after the Huskies didn’t connect all those decades ago, Canada didn’t see another professional basketball game for nearly 50 years. For those awful at math, that’s a long time in human years. In galaxy years, it’s not that long, but who cares about the galaxy other than that pesky Elon Musk?

The Huskies were nearly reborn in ‘93, but due to the then four-year old Minnesota Timberwolves, making a logo was challenging. So, Toronto ultimately decided to trade Paws for Claws.

Trends that stuck in the 90’s were hard to get rid of, and dinosaurs were no exception. Baggy clothes, sagging pants and Friends were cool for a couple decades before we got bored. So, ugh, I guess we don’t have the Toronto Ross Gellers or something.

Imagine if Game of Thrones happened in the 90s. The Toronto Dragons would’ve been game-changing. In fact, that’s the nickname the actually NBA wanted.

Can’t lie, the marketing possibilities are endless with that one. It very well could have been something that stuck, but “How to Train A Dragon” came out in the next generation.

Sorry Toothless.

Masai Ujiri, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, Raptors


The Raptors franchise have  remained somewhat relevant since coming into existence in 1994. Stars like Vince Carter, Chris Bosh, Demar Derozan, emerged as franchise cornerstones during their time with the organization.

Eventually, the franchise would make its first finals appearance in 2019, led by a Gregg Popovich-trained robot named Kawhi Leonard.

The Toronto RAPTORS are definitely looking to keep their name despite the rumors of them considering a change back in 2013.

I mean, when you have guys like Drake holding up “the 6” for Canada, it will be pretty difficult to wipe the Raptors off the map.

Especially since “it’s like a college campus,” according to Drizzy. Hashtags and sayings like “We The North” signify the whole country is behind this team. Basketball has become infectious to the youth across Canada. Game attendance reached an all-time high leading up to their first Finals appearance.

Anyway, you ready for it, friends? The best dad-joke-close to a column ever?

I dino what to tell ya, but Jurassic times call for Jurassic measures.