Published: Sat, November 21, 2020
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Toronto Raptors to begin upcoming season playing out of Tampa Bay | Offside

Toronto Raptors to begin upcoming season playing out of Tampa Bay | Offside

The team, which was denied a request to play games in Canada amid the pandemic, chose to begin their season in Florida instead.

Jevohn Shepherd talks with some of the biggest names in Canadian basketball about how the culture of the sport has changed over the past two decades, and if this is only the beginning of developing NBA stars.

"... Ultimately, the current public health situation facing Canadians, combined with the urgent need to determine where we will play means that we will begin our 2020-21 season in Tampa, Florida".

"An official familiar with the federal government's decision told The Associated Press on Friday there is too much COVID-19 circulating in the United States to allow for cross-border travel that is not essential", the AP reported.

He thanked government officials for helping ensure the safety of Canadians during the health crisis. "They say absence makes the heart grow fonder", said Ujiri on Friday.

After finishing last National Basketball Association season in a bubble outside Orlando, the franchise will have to temporarily relocate to Tampa, as the Canadian government has denied the team's request to host home games at Scotiabank Arena.

"We commit to continuing our work together, planning for a safe return to play in Toronto", continued Ujiri's statement.

Major League Baseball's Toronto Blue Jays used nearby Buffalo as their temporary home last season.

He urges fans to keep cheering from afar and concluded he looks forward to "the day we are all together again".

The Raptors have only committed, so far, to starting the season in Tampa Bay, according to Sports Illustrated, but fans are already mourning the loss of their team to another city.

It was probably a long shot, but Kansas City won't serve as a temporary home for the Toronto Raptors in the 2020-21 National Basketball Association season.

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