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Amir Johnson really, really, really loves Toronto

Oct 4, 2013, 10:25 AM EDT

Rudy Gay AP

Understandably, Raptors fans are a little fearful of being jilted again.

Chris Bosh, Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady all left Toronto via free agency or by forcing a trade. When the team’s top players – probably uncoincidentally Americans – all flee for the states, that’s no longer just a coincidence. And it doesn’t sit well with loyal Raptors fans.

But Amir Johnson, a Los Angeles native, is a breath of fresh air in T.O.

How does Johnson love Toronto? Let me count the ways, as detailed by Steve Buffery in the Toronto Sun:

  • Johnson loves the Maple Leafs
  • He loves Drake.
  • He loves the malls.
  • He loves the restaurants.
  • He loves the place he can buy quality bootleg DVDs.
  • He loves all the Toronto residents who didn’t bother Jay Z and Beyoncé when the couple was out on the town.

Johnson, via Buffery:

“Most of the things they hear about is the tax and it’s just too cold and too far,” said Johnson. “But once you get out here and get a couple of years out here, I’m pretty sure they’ll begin to like it. And the move (the Raptors) made with Drake, I think the younger class (of NBA players) will want to just to see what Toronto’s all about. Once you ask a young kid (in the States), ‘What do you know about Toronto?’ They say, ‘Oh Bieber and Drake.’ That’s the first thing that comes out of their mouth. They don’t know anything about Toronto, but they know that Justin Bieber is from Canada.”

A few weeks ago, someone tweeted Johnson asking him if he liked playing in Toronto and Canada.

“I don’t just like it,” he replied. “I LOVE IT!”

Johnson will become a free agent in the summer of 2014 or 2015. Then, we’ll see how much he really loves Toronto.

  1. sportsfan18 - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    Shania Twain and Pamela Anderson are both from Canada.

    • muhangis - Oct 6, 2013 at 3:30 AM

      And Jim Carrey, Neil Young, Sean Paul, Russel Peters, Deadmau5, and John Candy.

      I’m not from Toronto

  2. seanb20124 - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    A rapper makes this plank happy

  3. ryanrockzzz - Oct 4, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    Sadly, as a great of a city as Toronto is, I just don’t see big American stars generally wanting to stay. You usually want to play wherever you are from, unless you have no other choice. Look at Kovalchuk in the NHL, or many of the Canadian players who are more comfortable playing for the Canadian teams, rather than say San Jose. Certainly not a one size fits all, but I think it will always be a hard thing for Toronto and its fans.

    • rawgator06 - Oct 4, 2013 at 12:35 PM

      I know, right? Thats why the American teams in the NHL never win and are only filled with Canadian players. Only the Canadian teams win, right? Too bad Sidney Crosby, Malkin, Giroux, Datsyuk, Toews, etc etc are so homesick and only want to play on Canadian teams and in the KHL.

  4. johngalt1783 - Oct 4, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    Johnson will not leave the Raptors when he becomes a free agent. The guy is fiercely loyal. Johnson’s next contract even though he will be only 28 at the time, unless the Raptors extend him, will be his fourth NBA contract, two with the Pistons and two with the Raptors.

    When Johnson signed his second NBA contract and second with the Pistons he had offers far better than the Pistons offer. He explained that he signed with the Pistons rather than taking the extra money because they drafted him and gave him. last player drafted directly out of high school.

    When Johnson came to the Raptors he was still a raw athlete who made his living off of his athleticism and natural basketball instincts. He was however, woefully lacking in fundamental basketball skills. Since he has been with the Raptors they have invested a lot of time and money in Johnson teaching him the fundamentals of the game and making him into a basketball player with athleticism. In fact he said that this last summer the Raptors coaches worked with him on improving his fundamentals.

    Knowing Johnson I am pretty sure he appreciates that along with the opportunity the Raptors organization has given him to grow not only as a player but as a person. I think he will respond in kind by again showing his loyalty and resigning with the Raptors even if he gets a better offer somewhere else. My guess however is that Ujiri will not take any chances and extend him before he become a FA.

  5. ProBasketballPundit - Oct 4, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    To punish Canada for inflicting Nickelback on us, I’ve decided to send Michael Moore to them.

  6. cmehustle - Oct 4, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    I visited Toronto once and I loved it. I got a childhood friend of mines that lives there and the city is magnificient. So many girls of different nationalities…..I cant wait to go back there. The less NBA and rap dudes there to compete with the better off for me is how I see it lol.

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