Karl Toulouse Recalls 24-Years With Toronto Raptors, And Historic NBA Title
Wallaceburg’s Karl Toulouse has been the primary statistician for the NBA’s Toronto Raptors for 24-years. He’s been with them since the beginning, which is why this year’s historic NBA championship was such an incredible event for Toulouse and the Raptors.
Below, he write about his time with the Raptors, and this magical season.
Trying to summarize the past 24 seasons, and this playoff run, is indescribable.
I’ve seen some amazing athletes in Raptors Purple, then Red. And, I’ve seen some amazing athletes come to Toronto in the Visiting Uniforms. Remarkable is an understatement.
Vince Carter is still my favorite.
Kyle’s work ethic is second to none.
But it takes a team to achieve the success of 2019.
2019 was a playoff run that I will never forget.
In round 1, game 1 was lost the Orlando. I had that real bad gut feeling while driving home.
Round 2, seven games was totally expected against the 76ers. It wasn’t wanted, but it was expected to happen. Everyone saw the ‘shot’ around the world from Kawhi. I was a bit late recording the shot in the computer, because both of my arms were in the air, and I was screaming at the top of my lungs.
Round 3, down two games to the Bucks. I’d be a liar if I told you that the Raptors would win four straight to win the series.
But they did, and the smile on Kyle’s face at the end of Game 6 versus the Bucks was an image that is permanent in my memory. It was happiness, success, and total relief all combined into one brief moment. We were going to the show.
Round 4, the NBA Championship. My first trip to this round in my career against the defending champions.
I was assigned to Game 1, and am so glad that I was able to experience a hard fought win to draw first blood in the series.
I was not assigned to Game 2, and opted to watch from home. Disappointed about the loss, but against the defending champions, it was hardly surprising that they stole one game in Toronto.
I thoroughly enjoyed the competitiveness of Games 3 and 4 in Oakland. Great games, determined by small margins of victory.
I was lucky enough to be assigned to Game 5. I was hopeful that a victory celebration would end the evening, but it was not to be. There was a time late in the game when the Raptors were up, momentum had shifted for Toronto, and it truly felt, for a brief time, that it was going to happen. However, Klay Thompson had other plans, and nailed a triple from approximately 20’ from where I was sitting. I knew it was in before the ball hit the mesh.
Game 6 on a Thursday night in Oakland, Raptors up 3 games to 2, and I had to travel to Abbotsford BC to train new statisticians for the new CEBL (Canadian Elite Basketball League – Fraser Valley Bandits). While I was training the staff the night of June 12, Game 6 was on my mind constantly. How would I watch, how would I know what was going on, etc.?
The night of the Game, both games, the Raptors started at 6pm local time, and the Abbotsford Centre hosted a pre-game viewing party. Attendance was low, not surprising, but still very vocal watching the majority of the first half. I was not able to sit and view the Raptors game, as I had to ensure that the Fraser Valley Crew was in a good mindset going into their game. So, I texted my sister, who was staying with us in London, and asked if she would text me score updates. She agreed, and I had my phone distracting my attention in Abbotsford while supervising the crew. Just prior to halftime, the PA Person announced on his mic, that “the Toronto Raptors have won their first NBA Championship”. My first feeling “You have got to be kidding me.”
I texted my sister to ask what she was doing, and she replied the game wasn’t over. There was a foul at/near end of regulation. Just seconds later, my sister texted, “Raptors won 114-110.”
I was happy, but it seemed incomplete.
I taped the game at home, but wasn’t arriving home until late Friday June 14.
I continued my work at Abbotsford, the crew did great, really great. We had a post game review of their work, had a lot of success to talk about that night, and everyone went home knowing that some of them were there permanently.
After the crew had left, I sat down with the Game Operations coordinator, Jen. An absolutely wonderful and professional person running the show for the Bandits. She knows how to run a game from the sidelines. Turns out, she is the Game Operations person for the Vancouver Warriors of the NLL, and lacrosse is another passion of mine. We had great discussions about basketball and lacrosse.
When I finally got back to my hotel, I watched a bit/lot of the highlight’s, and turned in at midnight local time (3am our time in the east). I set the alarm for 5am as CBC London Radio had requested an interview with me at 5am local time (8am our time).
Sadly, I woke up 15 minutes prior to the alarm going off, so adjusting my ‘radio’ voice that I don’t have (or a face for TV) was ready for the 5am call.
It (winning the Trophy) still felt incomplete until I got to the parade on Monday. I was positioned at the SW Corner of Front Street and the York St/University Avenue split.
I have never in my life seen that many people collected into such a small space in my lifetime. It was real, it was exciting, and it was totally thrilling. I never did meet up with anyone from the Stats Crew, and stood on my own with 10,000 other strangers. By parade time, two hours late, we were laughing, joking, high-fiving, clapping, celebrating. It was so amazing – so worth the drive and crowded GO Train ride in and out of the city.
The social media, texts, and emails of congratulations and support have been numerous, and I love every single one of them. I am so glad that so many people came together to celebrate an NBA Canadian Franchise – the 2019 NBA Champions.
One last thought. The fans were second to none. In Game 5, the Canadian National Anthem was sung by not only the fans inside the arena, but across one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
Goosebumps on goosebumps.
I am thankful, grateful, and am in awe of what I witnessed.
In approximately one month from now, the 2019-2020 schedule will be released.
I will book the dates in my day-timer, and another pre-season followed by 41 home games will present itself. Another opportunity to watch some of the most amazing athletes in the world. I will sit second row from the court, and go back to work. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.