It all started back in April. The Toronto Raptors had a surprising season and won the Atlantic Division title and made it into the NBA playoffs. Although they ended up eliminated in the first round with a heart-breaking game 7 loss to the Brooklyn Nets, the fans came out in droves to support the Raptors.
Passionate Raptors fans packed Maple Leaf Square every single playoff game. It didn’t matter if it was a home or an away game. They were there. The media began to refer to the square as Jurassic Park.
And the fans came out again last Wednesday night. It was the first game of the season and Jurassic Park was back and alive.
Jurassic Park, the movie, actually had a huge influence on the team’s name. When the NBA expansion committee awarded Toronto with a franchise on September 30th 1993, the team announced a nationwide “Name Game” contest to name the team. Lots of names were submitted and Jurassic Park, being just released a few months ago, had a huge influence. T-Rex and Raptors were on the top 10 list. Finally on May 15th 1994, the team’s name was announced.
So what exactly is a raptor? Raptor is actually short for Velociraptor. Some interesting facts about the dinosaur from the National Geographic:
- It was a feathered dinosaur.
- It shared several similarities with birds, like having hollow bones and tending nests of eggs.
- However, unlike birds, the raptor did not fly due to their short forelimbs, making liftoff impossible.
- Possibly one of the more intelligent dinosaurs because it had a large brain proportionate to its body size.
- It covered ground quickly, may have been able to reach speeds of 39 km/h.
- They likely brought down their prey quickly with a long retractable claw on each foot and a mouth full of sharp teeth.
The name seems kind of fitting then, right?
To find out more interesting facts about the raptor and other dinosaurs, take a look at these books:
There are also websites, selected by librarians, with more information about dinosaurs. Here are a few:
The Toronto Raptors’ next game is tomorrow in Orlando. Let’s hope they can protect their egg (basketball), cover the court quickly and take down their prey, similar to the dinosaur they were named after. Let’s go Raptors!