TORONTO – Rockford native Fred VanVleet became the first NBA champion from his home city as he helped the Toronto Raptors win their first NBA title. Millions of people came out for the championship parade and celebration rally Monday, with people not wanting to miss out on the party.
VanVleet had some of his close friends and family up on the float with him, and he spent a lot of time with his “twin” Drake, as the entertainer rode along with the team.
“It’s been a blur,” VanVleet said while being interviewed during the parade route. “Just trying to enjoy it. It’s been a heck of a ride just to get to this point. Now it’s time for us to enjoy all the work we’ve put in.”
With all the fans wanting to be a part of the celebration, it made for tough logistics. The parade lasted a lot longer than it was expected to, building up anticipation for the arrival at Nathan Phillips Square in downtown Toronto. When they finally arrived, the 50,000 people who packed the plaza chanted, “Freddy, Freddy,” as VanVleet was about to address them.
“I just truly want to say that you guys should really enjoy this moment,” VanVleet said to the crowd. “It’s a really special moment not just for us as an organization, but for the city and country of Canada. Me personally, you guys kill us when we lose. You killed us when we got swept two years in a row. So you better celebrate this for the rest of the summer. Until next year. We delivered. We delivered. Now it’s your turn to deliver for us. Enjoy it, man.”
VanVleet is definitely enjoying it.