The Toronto Raptors' Team Name Was Reportedly Influenced by 'Jurassic Park'

Here's what you need to know about the history behind the Toronto's NBA team being named the Raptors — and why Canadian team is in the NBA.

Gabrielle Bernardini - Author

Apr. 17 2020, Updated 4:47 p.m. ET

drake nba
Source: Getty Images

The NBA Finals kicked off last night in a heated battle between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors. Game 1 in the series ended with the Canadian-based team defeating the reigning champs 118 to 109. Kevin Durant's absence was surely noticed in the game, and Toronto took full advantage. 

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Homegrown Toronto native Drake cheered on his team courtside rocking a Dell Curry jersey. Yes, that’s GSW Steph Curry’s father (who played for the Raptors from 1999 to 2002). The rapper — who is hoping to watch his team win their first title — is known for his sideline heckling, and didn’t disappoint on Thursday reportedly calling Golden State player Draymond Green “trash.” 

We guess the alleged “talk” that the rapper received about his courtside antics fell on deaf ears. 

As fans continue to watch the race for the NBA championship trophy (and some not-so-secretly hoping GSW does not win for the third straight year), we've decided to take a look back the Canadian team's inception and how they came to be. But really, why is Toronto-based basketball team called the Raptors.

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drake raptors
Source: Instagram

A short history on why Toronto’s NBA team is called the Raptors.

Before joining the NBA, the professional team was named the Toronto Huskies. After losing to the New York Knicks in the 1940s and having a terrible record with little attendance, the team folded and the city would not see another basketball team return until the '90s.

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According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, the Raptors joined the league in the 1995-96 season as one of two expansion teams. Fans were asked to pick a team name after a list was narrowed down to ten mascots. Ultimately, the NBA team was dubbed the Toronto Raptors, which was reportedly influenced by the Steven Spielberg film, Jurassic Park, which was popular at the time.   

toronto raptors jurassic park
Source: Getty Images
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Wait, why is Canada even part of the NBA?

As mentioned above, Toronto was part of the NBA’s expansion plan, the other team being the Vancouver Grizzlies. However, the west coast Canadian team has since been relocated to Memphis, Tennessee. 

With the success of the Raptors, many have questioned if the NBA will expand further into Canada. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver recently set the record straight, saying, “My answer is, you know, and it’s the same as it’s been for other U.S. cities that have expressed interest, and that is that we are just not in expansion mode at the time.” 

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However, he did give Montreal and other Canadian cities expressing interest some hope, adding, “I’m sure inevitably at some point we’ll turn back to expansion, but it’s not on the agenda at this time.” Well, Canada can keep cheering on the Raptors as they hope to finally hoist the Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy.

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Drake continues to be a savage sitting standing courtside at the NBA finals.

In case you're reading this, it's too late ... Drake is the Raptors' No. 1 fan. Appearing courtside for many of the playoff games, the rapper has attracted attention for his outlandish behavior, such as giving Toronto coach Nick Nurse a back rub. In Thursday's game, Drake posted an Instagram video of himself picking lint out of opponent Steph Curry's hair. 

"Steph Curry hair lint for sale on my eBay right now!!! username: DraymondShouldntWear23," he captioned the social media video. While the two have previously displayed comradery in each other's presence, it appears all bets are off.

Catch Game 2 of the NBA finals this Sunday (June 2) at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. 

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