Deep in the heart of Drake’s hometown, Raptors fans don their red, black, and gold. Some head to the bar, others take to their couches, and the really passionate ones prepare to head into the war-zone that is Jurassic Park. Going into tonight’s game 4 against the Miami Heat, Raptors fans attempt to be cautiously hopeful, while still mulling over some important questions.
Firstly, will Bismack Biyombo be able to adequately replace an injured Jonas Valaciunas as a starting centre? Maybe, especially with Hassan Whiteside out of the lineup for a smaller Heat squad.
Will Kyle Lowry be able to repeat his 33 point performance of game 3? Only tip-off will tell, as both star guards DeMar DeRozan and Lowry have struggled this series. One could hypothesize that Lowry exorcised his demons in game 3 after a slow start, but it’ll really come down to game time.
The last question for not only Raptors fans, but Canadian basketball fans as a whole pertains to Dwyane Wade. At this point, most have seen the footage of him shooting around during the singing of the Canadian national anthem. He chose to blame game operations, citing an earlier start time as the reason he didn’t cease his pre-game warm-up. The Palm Beach Post outlined the majority of Wade’s comments:
“You’re always sensitive to anything throughout the world. I’m not thinking about nothing like that. I’m thinking about what I need to do before every game that I prepare for and have been doing my whole career. I understand whatever’s said from that standpoint, but I’m not a disrespectful person. If anybody thinks I’m being disrespectful to their country, then they have no idea who Dwyane Wade is.
Going off his comments alone, it seems that there might indeed be a slightly disrespectful side to Dwyane Wade. Sure, pre-game routines are important but at what point do you stop and measure the impact of your actions? In the last two days, hating Wade has united Canadian sports fans in a way that only a Jose Bautista 7th inning three run homer can. Bat flip that, baby.
Jokes aside, us normally demure Canadians are not about to let this go. The NBA mandates that, “Players, coaches and trainers are to stand and line up in a dignified posture along the sidelines or on the foul line during the playing of the National Anthem.” This rule has been broken before, with the league choosing to bench former Denver Nuggets player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf for choosing to not stand for the anthem due to religious reasons.
Americans are very particular about their patriotic values, and for good reason. Sports are a hell of a lot more than just a game, a sentiment that is only really expressed in the wake of tragedy. For me, I didn’t fully weigh the impact of an anthem until a gunman stormed the parliament and my hometown of Ottawa, Canada’s capital, was put on lockdown. The Ottawa Senators game was re-scheduled until the next day and I remember watching people sing the anthem with tears in their eyes. That was when it really clicked for me.
Though the Miami-Toronto game was just a normal game, I truly believe that sentiment should carry over all the time—not just in tragedy. Finishing a shooting ritual should not take precedence over an anthem, and you can bet that Wade would not have continued shooting should it have been the Star-Spangled Banner playing.
His comments are reflective of a dismissive attitude that should be considered unacceptable in the NBA. Should he have apologized after Sunday’s practice, I don’t think his conduct would continue to be an issue. Sure, he continued a shooting ritual and shouldn’t have, but had he acknowledged his mistake, we wouldn’t still be talking about it. We Canadians are a forgiving bunch. We just want an apology.