Raptors’ Kyle Lowry was once told he’d forever be a backup, wouldn’t make more than $5 million per year
Kyle Lowry’s ascent to stardom has been one riddled with questions, doubts, and many ups and downs throughout the way. The Toronto Raptors point guard had a rough start in his first five seasons in the NBA, managing to stick around after only getting 30 starts to his name through his first half-decade of experience in the league.
All signs pointed to Lowry being yet another shining NCAA talent who was simply too small and too unathletic to break into an NBA world where size, speed, and otherworldly athleticism are often glorified.
Yet Lowry had his breakthrough in Years 6 and 7, starting most of his games for the Houston Rockets before he was dealt to Toronto, which gave him a new chance for a fresh start.
That new beginning would be once again clouded by doubt, as a rival executive advised him to prepare for life as a backup and a former teammate bet he would never make more than a $5 million per year figure, according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated:
After being traded to Toronto, a rival executive (Lowry declines to name him) told him he should prepare for life as a backup. Lowry has played 497 games for the Raptors—and started 481. A former teammate (“Jared Jeffries,” says Lowry. “Yeah, you call him out”) once told Lowry he would never make more than $5 million per year. In 2017, Lowry signed a three-year, $100 million deal.
Jeffries, who played with Lowry in Houston, could have never expected a wild rise in the salary cap, or the immense revenue share the NBA would get with new TV and network contracts. Even less that Lowry would forge himself as the starting point guard for the Raptors and revamp his career from that point on.
Not only did Lowry enjoy two 20-plus-point scoring seasons, but he has now molded his game several times to fit the needs of the team — making him a champion first and a multi-millionaire second.