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Raptors lose to Celtics, but they shouldn’t lose the respect they’ve earned – Raptors Republic



Respect, like children’s belief in fairies, or lithium, is a tenuous resource. The Toronto Raptors have a long-standing feud with respect. Although it’s by no means unique to Toronto, fans of the team often feel personally disrespected by referees, media narratives, and free agents’ decisions. As the home of the only NBA team not based in the United States of America, national media coverage can occasionally dismiss Toronto and its accomplishments.

Many Toronto players have themselves used the constant weight of disrespect to fuel their careers. Terence Davis and Fred VanVleet are famously connected by the similarity of their origin stories: undrafted guards who’ve had to earn every minute they’ve ever played in the NBA. So many Raptors’ slogans are tied to that very idea: bet on yourself, understand the grind, make ‘em believe. The core concept between all three is that others don’t bet on you, don’t believe. They lack respect.


Hosting a Christmas Day game is one of the ultimate signs of respect in the NBA. The regular season’s most appetizing slate of games is intended to be reserved for the best teams and the most compelling rivalries, and it’s impossible to leave the defending champion out of the mix. So, for the first time in NBA history, a Christmas Day game took place outside of the United States.

In the brightest timeline, Toronto was supposed to host a Christmas coming-out party to a league that can occasionally be dismissive of its efforts. Pascal Siakam was supposed to explode for 40 points on a broadcast whose network hyped the Christmas games with only negative highlights of the Raptors. Toronto was supposed to bet on itself.

Instead, the Raptors were out-gunned and out-classed by a disciplined Boston Celtics in a 118-102 loss that seemed even worse than the final score. Kemba Walker dribbled into countless pull-up triples as Toronto, missing Marc Gasol, was too afraid of Boston’s offensive rebounding to lift its center out of the paint. Nick Nurse even admitted that yielding those shots was within the scope of the gameplan, at least until Walker started hitting them. Jaylen Brown stole Siakam’s spotlight as the best player in the game, hitting every variety of shot, no matter the defensive pressure, en route to his game-high 30 points.

There were, as always, some positives. Kyle Lowry was, as has been the norm since Toronto lost so much of its talent to injury, a masterclass on the offensive end. Chris Boucher was fantastic and decisive; he closed the game for Toronto over Serge Ibaka. Fred VanVleet’s shot remains absent since his return from injury, but he finished fantastically inside the arc and finished with 27 points. Still, when one of Lowry, Boucher, or VanVleet wasn’t manufacturing miracle offense, Toronto had trouble scoring in the half-court and committed countless unforced errors in transition.

The Raptors fell flat in one of the team’s few spotlight moments of the year. The defending champions did not earn respect with their Christmas performance. It’s possible that until they win another championship, as one MLSE employee (wishfully?) said to me before the game, Toronto will never again host a Christmas game. After the Christmas letdown, ESPN will likely continue ignoring the defending champions this season, and perhaps rightfully so.

Disrespect can, of course, also yield benefits. Disrespect on the court yields open shots, particularly for underappreciated players like Chris Boucher, who shot three-of-four from deep against Boston. The ever-looming specter of disrespect can result in entire Hall of Fame careers, as in the case of Kyle Lowry and the constant, general lack of belief in his abilities outside of Toronto. Disrespect off the court can yield Christmas days spent with family rather than working, playing basketball and having to justify your performance to media members who would also rather be at home.

Disrespect, however, is a thing of the past for the Toronto Raptors.

There are no moral victories once you’re a champion, but along the same lines, there should be no real demoralizing losses either. The Toronto Raptors are defending champions, and they’re currently holding court without several of their best players. They’ve won some wacky games short-handed, but they couldn’t recreate the recipe against Boston. The lights are bright on Toronto’s first Christmas game, but that doesn’t make the game matter more. The Raptors don’t need to earn respect because they should already have it. Winning the championship has freed Toronto to lose, just as it freed them to play on Christmas at all. Respect may be a double-edged sword, but the Raptors are learning that this Christmas, they’re floating above the battlefield.

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The Best Canadian Players Ever To Play In The NFL



When people talk about the best players in the history of the NFL, they usually talk about American players. Well, when we consider that most of the legends were from this country, this should not come as a surprise. The case is the same today. Just take a look at and you will see who the most popular individual players are and the top betting picks for football enthusiasts.

However, looking further north, we can see that there are many splendid Canadian players who graced the NFL with their talent.

Let’s take a look at the best ones who played in the league.

Nate Burleson

This ridiculously talented American-Canadian football player had a successful career in the league. He played as a wide receiver for various teams throughout his career, including the Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, and Cleveland Browns. Burleson was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the third round of the 2003 NFL Draft.


He quickly made a difference on the field, showcasing his speed, agility, and reliable hands. During his time with the Vikings, he became known for his ability to make acrobatic catches and his versatility as a receiver. In 2006, Burleson signed with the Seattle Seahawks, where he continued to excel. He played a key role in the team’s success, helping them reach the Super Bowl in the 2005 season. However, injuries limited his playing time during his tenure with the Seahawks.

In 2010, this wonderful man joined the Detroit Lions, where he had some of the best years of his career. He formed a dynamic receiving duo with Calvin Johnson, and together they became one of the most formidable wide receiver tandems in the league. Burleson’s leadership and veteran presence were also highly valued by his teammates. After his time with the Lions, Burleson signed with the Cleveland Browns in 2014.

Bronko Nagurski

This football diety wrote a delightful piece of the NFL history and he made the whole of Canada proud. He played as a fullback and defensive tackle for the Chicago Bears in the 1930s and early 1940s. Nagurski was known for his incredible strength and power on the field, earning him a reputation as one of the toughest players of his time.

During his splendid career, Nagurski helped lead the Bears to multiple championships, including the NFL Championship in 1932, 1933, and 1940. He was a dominant force on both offense and defense, known for his ability to break tackles and his hard-hitting style of play. Nagurski’s physicality and versatility made him a standout player in an era when two-way players were common.

He was later shown the heavenly doors of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963. This of course, only made his legacy a legit one in this neck of the woods. What do his colleagues have to say about him? Well, most of them remember him being one of the toughest dudes to roam the green fields.

Mike Vanderjagt

This absolute legend became famous for playing as a placekicker for the Indianapolis Colts from 1998 to 2005 and later for the Dallas Cowboys in 2006. Vanderjagt was known for his accuracy as a kicker and he has the NFL record for the most consecutive field goals made with 42. He was also the first kicker in NFL history to have a perfect season, making all of his field goal and extra point attempts in 2003.

Vanderjagt was selected to the Pro Bowl twice in his career and was a key contributor to the Colts’ success during his time with the team. Imagine having those tales to tell the kiddies on your lap when you get old.

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Jimmy Butler steals the show on NBA media day with ‘emo’ phase look following Damian Lillard’s trade to the Milwaukee Bucks



CNN — 

Whether or not Miami Heat’s golden child Jimmy Butler’s new “emo” look is just a phase, the NBA star carried it off with some aplomb, drawing plenty of laughs from his teammates.

One year on from his memorable fake dreadlocks look, the 34-year-old outdid himself by turning up at the Heat’s media day on Monday sporting a straightened fringe, piercings in his eyebrow and lips and painted black nails.

Butler said he’s now “emo” and after the summer he and the Heat have had, who can blame him?

After former Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and his agent publicly stated on numerous occasions that he would only want to play for Miami, it seemed like a matter of when, not if, the 33-year-old would end up in South Beach.


Butler led the Heat to an improbable NBA Finals appearance as the eight seed last season, so it’s easy to imagine his excitement at the prospect of Lillard’s addition to the roster pushing the team over the top and to its first title in the post-Lebron James era.

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) gets his new hairdo brushed at the start of a TV interview, during the NBA basketball team's media day, in Miami, Monday, Oct. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

However, the Milwaukee Bucks swooped in last week with a package that blew Miami’s out of the water, meaning Lillard will now be plying his trade in Wisconsin and not Florida.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, laugh it up,” Butler said as he entered his press conference, pushing his fringe out of his eyes. “I’m emo. This is my emotional state, I’m at one with my emotions so this is what you get.”

Despite failing to acquire Lillard and losing key contributors Gabe Vincent and Max Strus, Butler remains confident ahead of the upcoming season, telling reporters the Heat are going to win it all.

If it’s good news that he’s now at one with his emotions, Butler might just also be a gifted method actor and isn’t actually going through a belated “emo” phase. The six-time All Star could be heard saying “don’t make me break character” as he entered the press conference.

Oct 2, 2023; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler poses for a photo during media day. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

His new character was certainly a hit with his teammates and had Bam Adebayo crying tears of laughter as the pair were having their photos taken for the new season – which means, yes, Butler will have this hair in official photos for the entire year.

Certainly not someone to do things by halves, Butler was fully immersed in his new state and even posted songs from emo bands on his Instagram story throughout the day.


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Finding Your Perfect Match: The Best Ways to Choose an Online Sportsbook



In the ever-expanding world of online sports betting, selecting the right sportsbook is crucial. This is to ensure an enjoyable and secure gambling experience. With numerous options available, it can be challenging to find the perfect fit. For instance, you can be looking into sites like BestOdds to find a sportsbook to go with but do not know what exactly to check.

This article will explain the basics of finding an excellent online sportsbook.

Licensing and Regulation

The first and most critical factor when choosing an online sportsbook is ensuring it operates in a legal and transparent manner. A reputable sportsbook should possess a valid license from a recognized regulatory authority. These licenses indicate that the sportsbook adheres to strict standards, including fair play, responsible gambling and financial security.

Before registering, check for the sportsbook’s licensing information. In most cases, you will find this in the footer of their website. Some of the most reputable regulatory bodies for online sports betting include the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) and the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission.


Additionally, research the sportsbook’s track record for regulatory compliance and any previous non-payment or unethical practices incidents. User reviews and industry news sources can provide valuable insights into the sportsbook’s reputation.

Odds and Betting Markets

The quality of odds and the variety of betting markets offered are key factors in determining the suitability of an online sportsbook. Competitive odds provide better potential returns for your bets, while a wide range of markets allows you to explore different betting options.

Compare odds from multiple sportsbooks to ensure you get the best bet value. Some websites and apps even offer odds comparison tools to make this process more convenient.

Moreover, consider the breadth of sports and events covered by the sportsbook. Whether you’re into mainstream sports like football, basketball, or soccer or niche sports and events, the sportsbook should offer diverse markets to cater to your preferences.

Security and Payment Options

Security is paramount when sharing personal and financial information with an online sportsbook. Look for sportsbooks that employ the latest encryption technologies, such as SSL (Secure Socket Layer), to safeguard your data. Consider factors like two-factor authentication (2FA) to enhance account security further.

Payment options are another critical aspect. Ensure the sportsbook offers convenient and secure methods for depositing and withdrawing funds. Common payment methods include credit/debit cards, bank transfers, e-wallets (like PayPal or Skrill) and cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin). Choosing a sportsbook that supports your preferred payment method is essential to streamline your betting experience.


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