[Editor’s note: No, don’t pay attention to the meter, nerds.]
Friends, NBA fans, and those from The Six. I’ve come to praise Kyle Lowry, not to slander him. A title is seen to validate a player; Their careers are often trashed without one. So, let it be with Lowry.
My own brother told you that Lowry was trash: If Lowry was, it wasn’t without evidence, and he has been the butt of jokes because of it. Here, with my brother and the world as witnesses — because my brother is an honest man, like any other fan — I’m here to speak after the Raptors’ title victory.
Told my little brother that Kyle Lowry signed back with the Raptors pic.twitter.com/DOx62EMw3U— Zito (@_Zeets) July 4, 2017
Lowry was just a player to me, good but flawed. But my brother said that he was trash, and my brother is an honest man. He scored 26 points and had 10 assists in game six, and helped the Raptors to their first ring. Was this the game of a trash player? The Raptors won because he was great, that doesn’t equate with being trash. Yet my brother said that he was trash; And my brother is an honest man. But you all saw in the Finals, Lowry could have collapsed after the first two games, yet he played well in the last four. Is that trash?
Yet my brother said Lowry was trash; And sure, my brother is an honest man. I’m not here to say that my brother is wrong, just to talk about what I saw in the Finals. Many of us have slandered Lowry before, not without reason: what has changed then, that he’s no longer a joke? Could it be that the idea of players often overrides their reality? And our arguments are often too reductive? Or that players are not condemned in static narratives. I think there’s much to think about.
Just a few weeks ago, Lowry’s failures were the embodiment of the old Raptors; Now he’s an NBA champion. And everyone is praising him. If I was to say that this change of attitude is dishonest and fickle, I would do my brother and NBA fans, who are all honest people, wrong. I will not do them wrong; I would rather be unfair to myself, to every other writer and the world, before I do wrong to such honest people.
But I want to praise Lowry for what he did in these Finals, especially Game 6. When the Raptors needed him, he came through. In his first ever NBA Finals, in an elimination game, he scored the first 11 points for his team.
First, he dribbled past Kevon Looney for a layup. Then he shot a three on the same defender. Draymond was switched on him next, and he hit another three. Against Stephen Curry, he drove, before pulling the ball back, yet Curry kept going backwards. As if to show the different directions public opinion on them was heading. Since Curry is beloved beforehand, and Lowry had been a villain.
That three against Curry was the most brutal of Lowry’s points. When he pulled the ball back and shot, he elevated himself to the status of hero, while condemning Curry to be the failure. Lowry continued in the same fashion all game, until a Curry shot bounced off the rim with six seconds left. Under the rim, next to the bigger Demarcus Cousins, Lowry jumped and challenged him, forcing the big man to lose the rebound. The Warriors recovered, but called a phantom timeout, and the Raptors went on to win.
In the last ever game at Oracle Arena, with millions of people watching, the Warriors lost. And what a loss it was, my friends! Then I, and you, and all of us, cheered, while the Toronto Raptors celebrated in the stadium. Now in the aftermath, I think we all feel compassion. When we look at Lowry holding the trophy, what else can we feel? Here is he, a champion, finally vindicated.