Thursday July 29 2010 – 10:43am Eastern – Toronto, ON

So Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic were on “Mike and Mike in the Morning” on ESPN radio earlier today and they had some interesting (although uninformed) comments about the city of Toronto and whether or not this is still a viable market for the NBA.

While both hosts admitted that they love the city overall – and enjoy visiting – they said they don’t believe that any star wants to come here and that Americans don’t want to live in Canada.  I’m paraphrasing, but those are the basic nuts and bolts of their statements.

If, as Mike and Mike suggest, the NBA needs to ask itself if it wants to be in Toronto … perhaps the Raptors attendance figures should be researched.  Take a look at where this team is in those rankings year after year.  Not only are the Raps in the upper HALF almost every year, they’ve frequently been in the top 10 in attendance rankings since they came into the league 15 years ago.  And while many local media outlets (in Toronto and Canada) choose to ignore this fact, the Raptors local television rankings are among the best in the entire league.  I saw a report last year that had Toronto’s TV ratings behind only the Lakers and Cavaliers local numbers.

While Mike and Mike didn’t bring up this issue … let me just say as well … that the ongoing TAX argument is bogus as well.  Let’s just forget about the fact that these players are making American dollars and spending Canadian dollars for 6-8 months of the year — and any accountant worth his weight has found every loophole imaginable to make sure these guys aren’t truly paying any more or less than they should (more or less than anyone else) in spite of living in 2 countries during a 12-month span.  Plus, I’ve recently seen documents that suggest Toronto / Ontario / Canada’s taxation is no worse than about 75% of the other markets in the NBA; they’re neck-and-neck with every other city’s taxes outside of Orlando, Miami, San Antonio, Dallas, and San Antonio.

As for the “stars don’t want to come here” and the “no player will become a star here” comments, perhaps I could offer up a few reminders to the folks at ESPN:

- Damon Stoudamire can’t be cited as an legit example by anyone … with a franchise that was still in its infancy; working out the kinks.  Oh, and by the way, have folks not heard/read/seen Damon say a NUMBER of times since his departure that leaving Toronto may have been the biggest mistake of his career?

- Tracy McGrady can’t be cited as an example either.  He was a young kid who barely saw the floor until midway through his 2nd year.  And under the then-existing ridiculous CBA, he had the right to walk as a free agent in his early 20′s!  Plus, he not only ‘spurned’ the Raps, he left the Bulls hanging high and dry too.  Oh, and by the way, how did leaving T.O. for greener pastures work out for TMAC?

- Kenny Anderson didn’t want to come….who cares.

- Vince Carter not only came, but he conquered as well.  He put this team on the U.S. map and major U.S. networks.  And … last time I checked … VC signed a long-term deal with Toronto as well (when so many in the States figured it was a sure shot that he was going to bolt).

- When Vince was in Toronto and the team was WINNING (and THAT is the key point — not the CITY) he and the organization had no problem getting the likes of Antonio Davis, Dell Curry, Muggsy Bogues, Charles Oakley, Kevin Willis, and many more.  Granted, many of those names may not qualify as ‘stars’ but they are/were established players; savvy veterans that had each achieved success in their careers that COULD have scoffed at the idea of coming to Canada … but they didn’t …cause, again, the team was WINNING.

- Chris Bosh was here for three-quarters of a decade!  Not only did he NOT bitch and complain about coming to Toronto when he was drafted by the Raps, he welcomed the opportunity AND ended up signing a long-term extension with the team too – and was a 5-times All Star during his time with the Raptors.  Hmmm….another star, like Vince, signing in T.O. and achieve success and recognition around the league as well?  I thought that didn’t happen with this team?

- Shawn Marion, Jermaine O’Neal, and Hedo Turkoglu had no issue with Toronto or Canada either.  Their success in this city is not the issue; we’re just talking about whether they came here with open arms or not.  Sure, John Salmons turned his nose up at T.O. – using God’s voice and advice as the reason – but are you losing sleep over John Salmons?  I’m not.

How hard is it to do that ‘research’ or to simply ignore those points?

As I’ve said 1,000,000 times, post-season success (or lack there of) is the reason that the organization is not top-of-mind for many free agents or ‘stars’ around the NBA.  Five playoff appearances in 15 years and only 1 second-round berth … THAT’S the issue.  And that’s a fact. 

Everything else is drivel.

E. Smith

48 Responses to “More Misinformation”
  1. 1.

    Well Said Eric! :)

    - Raps Fan
  2. 2.

    Regardless of these facts. This is still the bias that goes around in American sports media and works its way into the locker rooms. Misinformation can still be a powerful thing if players/media are not well informed or choose not to be. This really wouldnt even be discussed if Toronto was a perennial force in the playoffs. Most people south of the border probably forget that Toronto even has a team. I remember when Vince was the hottest player in the league and people were wearing Toronto Raptors jerseys in rap videos. Crazy! Maybe Sonny and DeMar can provide enough highlight reels this season to put Toronto back o the map? It comes down to media exposure right?

    - adam
  3. 3.

    Gah, this is just depressing…

    - bhattmagandhi
  4. 4.

    hey E i agree with your statment. i remember the same issues with the Jays years ago but when the got good and looked like they could win a championship they had no problems attracting good players. it won’t be an issuse if the Raptors are ready to take the next step, but until then you will here all the conspiracy theories about Raps the city & players.

    - Krull1
  5. 5.

    THANK YOU! Its funny that Mike & Mike choose to target the Raps when there are teams in lesser cities, with similar climates, and worse situations than Toronto(ahem-Minnesota).

    Now if only we can get you on ESPN instead of the idiots they put on, the world would be a better (and smarter) place.

    - Migs
  6. 6.

    As a Canadian living in the US the ‘Americans don’t want to play in Canada’ argument has always driven me crazy. There are no other NBA teams in Canada. Any player that leaves is naturally going to the US. TMac didn’t want to play in Chicago. Lebron doesn’t want to play in Cleveland, or NY. VC was happy to get out of New Jersey. Players always look for greener pastures. No player is going to choose city ‘A’ over city ‘B’ simply because city ‘B’ is in Canada. They will choose city ‘A’ if it offers more money, or better chance to win. My bet is many players would rather play in a bigger market (Toronto is the 4th largest city in North America) than in Charlotte, or Sacramento, or Minnesota.
    How did the Blue Jays attract American premire athletes in the past? Dave Winfield, Roger Clemens, Jack Morris, Paul Molitor… These guys came for the chance to win. Its irrelevant that Toronto is in Canada. When the Raptors have a contendor, the top line athletes will want to be here.

    - AJ
  7. 7.


    totally agree with you on attendance and ‘viability’ of Toronto as a market. No doubt Toronto can maintain an NBA, and likely better than half the teams in the NBA. Whether stars don’t want to come or stay doesn’t mean Toronto can’t handle a team.

    I’m in total disagreement with your thoughts on players wanting to come here. ‘Winning’ will bring them… but how do you win if you can’t get them or keep them initially.

    There is some serious irony in your blog title and your discussion… misinformation. Almost all your examples are inaccurate:

    Damon is an legite example because he DID want to leave. He may have stated after the fact it was a bad move, it doesn’t change that he WANTED to go initialy.

    T-MAC is a legite example because he DID want to go aswell. While it didn’t work out for him either, he still wanted to leave for more exposure

    Kenny Anderson… your right who cares.

    Vince – yeah he is the ultimate example of this ‘stars wanting to be elsewhere’ mess. Davis and Oakley were both brought in by trades not as FA. Davis still asked to leave in the end, and Oakley didn’t want to come initially. Toronto was winning with Vince and still T-Mac, Davis and Vince all wanted to leave.

    Bosh – well I think his comments say most of it. As he got older and better he realized he wasn’t getting the attention he wanted… while worse players on worse teams were getting more.

    I would also like to mention the young players who did resign (Vince and Bosh) were RFAs therefore Toronto had the rights to match offers. So in reality they weren’t going anywhere anyways.

    Just because a few didn’t openly throw a fit about not wanting to come or be here doesn’t mean they were automatically ok with it. They were just more politically correct. Would you tell your mother in law how bad her cooking is? If you don’t tell her does that mean you like it?

    The list of quality players wanting to leave is very long. The list of quality FA coming in is short (I think Hedo is the only ‘big name’ FA that has ever signed with Toronto, unless you count Hakeem who couldn’t sign a contract anywhere else.. and look how long he lasted)

    The reality is players don’t want to come or stay, and its for exposure (and therefore endorsement) reasons. Winning may change that, but to get to that ‘winning’ stage is more difficult because of it.

    That said, it doesn’t mean Toronto isn’t a viable market, just a team that needs more patient fans.

    - Swirsky's Soldier
  8. 8.

    How come American media like ESPN don’t do their research?
    Several reasons.

    First, it’s corporate radio. ESPN is a division of a giant global corporation. This means on-air corporate content. Essentially, we can do and say anything we damn well please.

    If you the audience don’t like it, is anybody forcing you to read/listen to/watch our content? No. So stop bitching and just turn it off.

    No accountability. They could care less about your comments. Also, their cookie cutter approah on-air is why I stopped watching and listening to it. WAY TOO MUCH sameness. And if you’re audience challenges you, what’s the point of talking down to them? Many times, management says rip the **** out of them on everything! Unfortunately, in American talk radio (and in some Canadian as well), anything that’s “liberal” or intelligent is essentially banned.

    Do your own survey. Listen online to ten sports talk programs all over the U.S. I defy to to hear any difference at all. It’s like they’re all using the same consultant.

    99.9% of the time I get my news and sports talk from overseas. What does THAT tell you?

    - Tom
  9. 9.

    Well ranted. It never ceases to amaze me how people speak from fiction without first checking fact…and even worse, knowing and then ignoring fact to espouse their more valuable fiction.

    - Own Up
  10. 10.

    Re: American media’s ignorance of Toronto and Canadian life. Keep in mind that accuracy and actually having them do their job went out the window a long time ago.

    Instead, what’s important? Screaming matches on-air. Also, why do you always see and hear the same people on ESPN? Answer: lazy producers and bookers. Corporate media doesn’t want troublemakers (unless they can somehow make money of them). Again, nobody cares about accuracy.

    - Tom
  11. 11.

    One last thought about Mike and Mike and Canadian life.

    I guess they never bother to look at Wikipedia or read the papers. The last time I checked, the number of Americans who are emigrating to Canada has gone up (for work, marriage, etc.). If you have a legitimate job offer from a reputable firm, work visas aren’t that hard to get generally.

    Imagine that a Canadian network offered Mike and Mike double what they’re currently making. And the opportunity to live in Toronto. How much do you wanna bet that they’d take it?

    - Tom
  12. 12.

    ESPN has a big animus against certain NBA teams. I stopped listening to ESPN sports shows years ago. Just a bunch of talking heads with a directors agenda.

    Amir Johnson also decided to resign with the Raptors. Don’t laugh now. Laugh later when he leads the Rapotrs to numerous playoff successes.

    - Buddahfan
  13. 13.


    I would request, once and for all, that you and other media in this town STOP giving even one more second of credence to “parochial” American commentators, players and agents about this “ancient” subject!

    In the end and as you stated, Winning AND Money talks. As far as these clowns in the US and their continually “uninformed” diatribes go, as someone long ago so eloquently stated, “you cannot reason with utter stupidity!”

    - Ron W
  14. 14.

    I agree with you Eric.

    Just remember that Americans excel at being borish and bullies. Not to mention they are ignorant, self centered and not very well educated.

    Americans don’t have a clue when it comes to matters outside their own borders. The only information they rely on comes from ESPN and CNN. And it must be all true if it is on TV (sarcasm).

    I feel embarrassed for people like Mike and Mike or Chris Bosh. Bosh made a fool out of himself recently with his comments regarding Toronto. (Of course your somewhere else you duffus. By the way, what does it smell like in Miami?. Oil perhaps?).

    We Canadians must continue to do what we do best; understanding that Americans are different and be polite by not responding to such nonsense.

    Enjoy the rest of your day.

    - R. Ralph
  15. 15.

    outside of Toronto the raptors do not exist in Canada.Please check TV rating to verify that fact.TSN and cbc are no longer interested in raptor games due to that fact.

    - denis
  16. 16.

    Its funny that players fail to realize that the 4th biggest media outlet is Toronto. Want to be a star you go to where the media is.

    - Jeff
  17. 17.

    When the American empire finally crumbles and ignorance and arrogance are replaced with humility and intelligence, then and only then will all these idiots realize that Canada is not some strange foreign country that’s great to visit but too different to live in.

    - Miles Boyer
  18. 18.

    Winning is the cure to our woes.

    Establish a culture and enviorment that makes star players think they have a chance to be successful and all this anti-Canadian stuff goes away.

    Build it and they will come.

    - Audley
  19. 19.

    By responding, you’re grabbing the bait, Eric.

    Best thing to do is just ignore those types of on-air bits, or print articles.

    Seems as though M&M (whoever they are…I only listen to the FAN!) wanted attention. And, you’ve given it to them.

    Next time, simply turn your head.

    - brento.
  20. 20.

    They don’t care about facts,and hell, after 7 years Bosh has all the sudden gone stupid regarding Toronto.These days the moment we draft a player in the first round,I start the clock towards his ultimate depature

    - Satch
  21. 21.

    Thanks for that Eric, I sure hope your american colleagues read this.

    - Dan J
  22. 22.

    Well said Eric! This is the biggest JOKE I’ve heard …ACC is packed night in night out if not SOLD out! ESPN Uneducated is a understatement! Get your facts straight before you go on air!

    - Hardeep
  23. 23.

    One fact that people over look is the dream a lot of AMERICAN kids have of being in the NBA when they are little. They don’t only dream about playing in the NBA or winning championships but they also dream about being talked about. A lot of these guys are ego manics and a big part of “the dream” is having Wilbon and Tony talking about them on PTI and also the guys on around the horn. Sure u can bring up the VC argument and say look at the pub he got playing in T.O but the fact is he had to be one of the best dunkers EVER to even be noticed a little.
    I’m not saying I agree with what Mike and Mike are saying but a lot of athletes have major egos that need to be stroked and the fact of the matter is (with the media in the states) its a much hotter chick doing the stroking.

    - Bruce
  24. 24.

    slow news day uh E,,,,,go raps go

    - lemongellofan
  25. 25.

    Let’s keep in mind that the players get out into the world a lot more than the media guys who, let’s face it, are pretty much local hicks when it comes to anything outside their circumscribed little world!

    - TL
  26. 26.

    Well it’s not just ignorance that leads to these feelings. When I am on U.S. based sports sites I read Raptor fans time and time again saying these exact same things.

    If U.S. media people read nothing but Raptors fans they would believe the same thing!

    - Brett R Gill
  27. 27.

    Well said Eric.

    You are more correct than even you think!

    If those ESPN guys were right, Madison Square Gardens would be considered the Mecca of basketball.

    Yet, most free-agents avoid NYC like the plague!

    NYC’s close neighbour New Jersey couldn’t even bribe LeBron to join the team.

    The owner of the Nets was willing to give LeBron pretty much anything to join the Nets.

    Given all of that, the Nets and Nicks are even worse off than the Raptors.

    In the grand scheme of things, Miami is not a very important place to anyone under 80 years of age.

    But there is the potential to win there.

    If Miami doesn’t win big, you’ll probably see most of those big signers demanding a trade.

    Yes,it’s all about having the potential to win.

    When they were winning, the Jays could get any free agent that they wanted.

    Even Roger Clemmens signed with the Jays because he thought they had the best chance of winning, (unti the Belgium Brewers stopped investing on the team and he bolted).

    The best example is the Leafs.
    Toronto is considered the hockey capital of North America if not the world.

    Any player playng for the Leafs becomes an instant celebrity with the potential for lucrative endorsements.

    Yet, since I can remember, top tier hockey players are not breaking down the door to play for the Leafs either.

    I guess the old Vince Lombardi saying is true.
    “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

    Certainly the case when it comes time to attract free-agents.

    - Larry Cooper
  28. 28.

    Read this!

    What was your reaction when you learned Bosh was going to Miami?

    Andrea Bargnani: I wasn’t surprised. His contract was finished and the feeling was that he was going to leave. You could feel that he was going to leave for the last couple of months before the end of the season. Everybody had this kind of feeling. So I wasn’t surprised.


    Hey, Brento maybe you should read this because after all Andrea Bargnani is your favorite player ;)

    - Raps Fan
  29. 29.

    Eric I love this aritcle. this shows how dumb talk hosts can be and how ignorant those M&M meat shop guys are. Seems Like they are also ignorant that there are 6 franchises that are in financial trouble and he is bashing us. I bet if they put 4 of the franchises in candaian major cities we will generate more fans and money than many of usa franchises.Please call Ardan Virk in espn and if he can educate those M&M boys that be a great help and point to them they made the world ignorant host list.

    - iczman
  30. 30.

    Not sure if ya’ll realize a very, very important statistic regarding our beloved Raptors:

    Raps have the 4th alltime lowest winning percentage of any team in the history of the NBA (not counting a few teams that only lasted a handful of years in the league).

    This absolutely horrible record is the primary reason basketball pros have avoided Toronto, unless they were highly overpaid (and I can think of a bunch of those guys — some are still on the roster, thanks to pantload Colangleo).

    It is a sheer MIRACLE that Toronto has remained in the top third of the NBA in attendance. Perhaps it shows the utter ignorance of TO fans when it comes to basketball.

    I can assure you one thing — if Leafs and Raps fans stayed AWAY from the ACC, both teams would improve significantly within 3-5 years. Guaranteed.

    I did my part when I cut my season seats from 4 to 2 prior to last season. I also have not purchased a SINGLE concession at the ACC in nearly three years.

    Now it’s time for you folks to do your part. It’s hard but it’s the only way anything’s gonna get accomplished around here.

    - brento.
  31. 31.

    America is a pathetic country, is it a big surprise that there country is viewed negativly by many other countrys , while cdns are liked. I suggest those boneheads Mike and Mike watch a movie called Idiocracy thats ther future.

    - james barnett
  32. 32.

    Big deal. Like MLSE will let the raptors move period. Try buying the raptors franchise for the projected worth on paper. Not happening. Bosh should be less concerned about fans booing him when he returns and more concerned about stopping Bargs from dropping 30 and 10 on his A. Thanks sportsnet for picking up some games it was hard to watch those streaming games last year. Why would anyone listen to mike and mike when howard stern is on 100 and ferrall is replayed on 101 in the morning.

    - Rob
  33. 33.

    Ahhh, there it is…

    I got through 27 responses before finding Brento’s never-ending rant.

    Anyone ever notice that this guy talks about 1 of only 3 gneral topics?

    a) Colangelo sucks
    b) Raps fans are stupid
    c) I’m a martyr because I gave up 1/2 of my season tickets

    Don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ll take reading about yet another example of our southern neighbour’s ignorance over this guy’s perpetual negativity every time.

    Talk about a pantload…

    - Kritter
  34. 34.

    Raptors’ valuation by puts it at $400 million or 11th place in NBA franchises.

    Attendance and TV ratings are solid.

    Raps do lack a star with Bosh gone, although I do agree with Colangelo that Bosh babied that nose injury as Raps fought for their playoff spot .

    Warriors like Steve Nash and Sue Bird in WNBA played with broken noses to name a few of many.

    I do think it’s silly to suggest fans stay away from games when they enjoy them .

    - Chas
  35. 35.

    Eric should ignore this story??? What else has generated close to 30 responses for him lately?

    You guys forget his J-O-B sometimes.

    - Gary
  36. 36.

    The biggest problem right now in terms of attracting players is what that punk Colangelo said about Bosh. No one wants to play hard for a guy whose going to dis them once they decide to play elsewhere. This was nothing but a 13-year-old girl punk move by Colangelo and what he said will do more harm than anything said by Mike and Mike.

    - Jess
  37. 37.

    Totally agree with you Eric. I am not surprised with the Chris Bosh Decision to leave. We all knew at the start of the season that if the raps didnt make it past the first round, he wouldnt stay. Look what happened, they didnt even make the playoffs. I would leave too if I had the opportunity to win and play with Lebron and Wade.

    I still got respect for Bosh and i am hoping Colengelo’s comments about him not giving it his best at the end of the season arent true.

    As for the rest of the people who left, as Eric mentioned, they are nowhere now. Tmac has never gone past Round 1…should have stayed with Vince buddy! Now Vince, he is just an addition to teams and can never be the star he used to.

    I hope this team does well in the coming years, key being Mr Colengelo.

    - AD
  38. 38.

    I’ll just be blunt and politically incorrect. American basketball players may have an issue playing here because there are very few black people in the core of downtown, which is where most of the players live. Bosh is right when he says it’s different. I’m sure 95% of the NBA players who come here have never seen so many Asians and White people living where they live or hanging out where they hand out and being their neighbors.

    - JT
  39. 39.

    hey eric,

    you deserve many kudos for this post. especially for reminding me why i choose your blog and the fan590 over espn any day!

    - ty
  40. 40.

    You are bang on again Mr. Smith. I’m not sure why the American media has such a hate on for Canada; last I checked, this country is the best in the world. No one has as many things to offer as Canada does.

    As far a brento’s point that we should stop going to the games, that might work for the Maple Leafs (although it will never happen), but it would destroy the Raptors. Two or three years of below average attendance will turn this team into the next Vancouver Grizzlies, and then all of us TRUE FANS, wont be able to watch a GREAT CANADIAN GAME in Canada.

    Sorry brento, but if you hate this team so much, why don’t you just give up your season seats and stop posting. I don’t think anyone really cares anymore.

    - T.J.
  41. 41.

    Listening online to more talk about the Raptors and Bosh’s Miami Herald comments.

    Some people keep saying, why are we still talking about Bosh? Who cares.

    The answers:
    It’s a really slow news cycle.

    The CBA is going to expire soon. So both the players and management are spinning to protect their jobs.

    - Tom
  42. 42.

    A question. If the American MSM is putting out so much bias re: Toronto and Canada, how come 590 hosts don’t challenge all the U.S. media people they have on?

    I hear lots of American writers and hosts on all the time. Yet, not once do 590 hosts get on their case about what they say? What’s up with that?

    - Tom
  43. 43.

    I’ve never been to Toronto. Yet I’ve seen lots of it and have worked with many people from there.

    Why is Colangelo striking back at Bosh?:

    (a) He’s fighting to keep his job.
    (b) He’s pissed off that players are making him and the franchise look bad.
    (c)The owners (snd possibly some GM’s as well) think the player’s union is too powerful. So break them now. Then, use that as leverage during the CBA negotiations.

    Has anyone ever asked Colangelo what he thinks about Toronto and living in Canada)? If not, is it because they’re afraid that they’ll hear more negative comments?

    - Tom
  44. 44.

    Bryan Colangelo is a terrible General Manager. His immature, self-destructive and public anti-Bosh rant will hopefully seal his fate in Toronto.

    What a classless, pointless, selfish thing for him to do. As JP’s rant about Adam Dunn did him in as Jays GM, this ridiculous self-serving turn on Chris Bosh will spell the end for the bumbling pantload Colangelo.

    He’s sitting in a house of cards. And, that house is ready to collapse.

    Yet, it seems most Raptors fans support him.

    What gives?

    - brento.
  45. 45.

    And, I’m not so sure this team couldn’t survive in TO with 10-12K fans per game. Lord knows, there are many other teams in the league living month to month. Why would our city be any different?

    If it was up to me, I’d immediately fire Petty and Colangelo, continue to turn over the roster, hire a young, aggressive GM (an Epstein, Anthopolous “type”) and deal with poor attendance for a couple years.

    It’s easy to rebuild an NBA team, especially if the owners have boatloads of cash. I believe the above steps could bring a serious winner to Toronto, which would instantly bring back attendance totals to 19,000.

    Anyone disagree?

    - brento.
  46. 46.

    And in response to JT’s idiotic comments re black and white:

    If you can last long enough to read it, check out this insightful, inspirational article, found on the front page of today’s Greater Toronto secion of the TO Star:–when-ricky-williams-met-arlene-vandersloot

    - brento.
  47. 47.

    Last time I checked Canada is America’s biggest trading partner in terms of exporting and importing goods. Without Canada the US would be screwed, wake up you ignorant american losers Canada is superior to America and will always be a better country to live in

    - Brian
  48. 48.

    people are stupid

    - david michel
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