The Raptors are becoming a hot ticket for Tampa’s NBA fans

Title: The Raptors are becoming a hot ticket for Tampa’s NBA fans
Date: December 23, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I spoke to NBA fans in Tampa about the Raptors’ temporary move there and what it means to them.

TAMPA, Fla. — Three years before the Toronto Raptors played their first NBA game, Nike and Michael Jordan unleashed a colourway that would become synonymous with the team’s early years. The Air Jordan Original 7 Black Dark Charcoal True Red, despite its description, also contained purple accents in three different places. Look at the shoe now, after 25 years of history highlighted heavily by the red, purple and black colour combination, and it’s hard to believe the Jordan 7s weren’t designed with the Raptors in mind.

Nike felt the same. In 2012, for the 20th anniversary of the shoe, Nike released the Nike Air Jordan 7 Retro Raptor, a modernized version of the sleek True Red. The Raptors were in a period of distancing themselves from the purple of their past — plainer reds and whites became their primaries in 2006 and the throwbacks didn’t come around until 2014 — but that didn’t stop basketball fans from embracing the connection.

Hank Johnson, a 31-year-old hospital supervisor in Tampa, Fla., was among them. He also bought a Tracy McGrady purple Raptors throwback jersey to pair with them.

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