Raptors DeMar DeRozan has made Toronto his home. He has started a family of his own since his arrival and he has built a strong friendship with his teammate and fellow All-Star Kyle Lowry. DeRozan has gone through the bad times with a bad team and is now enjoying the personal and team success that comes from hard work and striving to get better year after year. It’s a process that builds a strong attachment to a city, an organization and a team.
“Everything has been a process,” DeRozan said after learning he’d be an All-Star again. “Nothing was ever given to me. I had to work at every single thing that I accomplished, individually and team-wise. It was rough, but it made me into the person and player that I am today.
“It’s like being in a fight sometimes. You going against a bully and the bully keeps knocking you down. You figure out a different type of way to approach it every single time he knocks you down and you just stick at it. That’s been my whole approach with basketball, with life, with everything. Once you get knocked down, you just got to find a way to approach it and come at it even harder the next time.
“I take pride in putting on this Toronto Raptors jersey since I’ve been here. Now to add the All-Star game here and two guys (Kyle Lowry) representing (Toronto), it don’t get no bigger than that.”
Now in his seventh NBA season, the 26-year-old guard is making his second All-Star appearance with the Raptors. The pride he feels in his team and personal accomplishments are obvious.
“This is the best Raptors team I’ve been on,” DeRozan said.
The impact of the friendship between Lowry and DeRozan shouldn’t be underestimated. It was undoubtedly a major factor in Lowry’s decision to re-up with the Raptors two summers ago and it’s a major factor in just how comfortable life in Toronto has become for both players.
“It came out of nowhere, that’s how you know it’s legitimate,” DeRozan said about his friendship with Lowry. “There is no agendas there. We both want to see one another be great. We always trying to figure out how we can make this team great. When you got a teammate like that, it makes everything else easy.”
DeRozan has a player option for next season which, bearing a career threatening injury, he is going to decline making him an unrestricted free agent in July. However, he isn’t likely to seriously entertain offers from other teams and the Raptors are expected to give him the contract DeRozan and his agent will want. Toronto will be home for another four or five years.
DeRozan told ESPN’s Marc Stein, “it will be “pretty tough” for interested teams to steal him away from the Raptors in free agency this summer.”
“This has always been home to me.”
DeRozan has made Toronto his home and he’s done everything that makes an organization want to keep him there.