The Raptors Greivis got more interest from other NBA teams than he expected this summer, but for Vasquez, his girlfriend and their two children, Toronto is where it’s at and the most outspoken player from last season was truly excited to be back in the city he has grown to love.
“It feels great, it feels great. I am truly excited,” Vasquez said. “I am very happy to be back.”
Greivis Vasquez audio:
Raptors President and General Manager, Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri is quickly developing a reputation in Toronto as a shrewd dealmaker, evaluator of talent and a guy players can relate to. Ujiri has been flat out effective in all aspects of running his organization since his arrival last year.
“Masai (Ujiri) was really honest with me and he was telling me how it is and we got (the contract) done,” Vasquez said. “I want to be back in the city that I really love and I identify myself with.”
Vasquez was outspoken about how much he wanted to return to Toronto immediately after the season ended and obviously his feelings didn’t change after returning home to Venezuela. He is an ambitious guy, but the entire situation with the Raptors was just too good to pass up.
“At the end of the day, I am at the place I want to be at,” Vasquez said. “I am happy. My family is happy and I am very ambitious. I think my two year deal is really motivating me to get better, to do better. I know I can do better. I know I am worth a little more, but just the fact that we are building something special here, you take any pay cut or sacrifice anything because you want to win and I want to win and that is how we feel here.
“My heart is here, so it was going to be hard for me to go somewhere else. I am on a winning team with a great group of guys coming back with a chance to win and (I’m) healthy, so that’s pretty good to me. I got to thank (the media), the fans, management because this is a dream come true – signing a second contract is something I always dreamed about and I am very humble about this opportunity and I am going to embrace it and I am going to do my best.”
Unexpectedly, Vasquez was given the opportunity to be a spokesperson for the Pan Am Games coming to Toronto next year and he is using this platform to sell the virtues of his adopted home.
“I got many, many different things to say – great things to say about the city of Toronto,” Vasquez said. “I am going to have the chance to go back home and tell my whole Country how great Toronto and Canada is. Toronto is where it’s at. This is the city, this is where you want to be at and we got to stop being like – do you really like Toronto? We should be confident this is a city that everybody comes here and plays and hangs out and goes to eat dinner and if you want to eat Venezuelan, there is a ton of Venezuelan restaurants or Italian or Portuguese or whatever – that’s Toronto right there. I really like that.”
However, if you want to really touch a father’s heart, put him in a situation where his children thrive. It would have been doubly tough to get Vasquez out of Toronto this summer because of his family.
“Huge, huge, huge, my family obviously they make a huge impact on my life,” Vasquez said. “My girlfriend, my two kids, we love Toronto, we love the school system. My daughter was speaking English in 2 or 3 months. We were real excited about that. Imagine my daughter coming to my house and speaking to me in English for the first time. That was the best feeling ever. My son is only two years old, so I want him to follow the path his sister going through right now. We all wanted to be back. I think my whole Country wanted me back here too.”
For Vasquez at this point in his career and at this time in his personal life, Toronto is where it’s at and the city and the Raptors couldn’t have asked for a better spokesperson to promote the virtues of living and playing there.
Patrick Patterson Says Raptors Gave Him Confidence
Patterson gives Casey a lot of the credit for helping him to improve over the season. “(Casey) was one of the key reasons for us having such great success,” Patterson said. “His ability to teach and make us get better out there on the court.”