- The Toronto Raptors are now NBA champions.
- The franchise has come a long way since their inaugural 1995-96 season.
- We took a look at the players and coaches from the first Raptors team and what they are up to now.
- Most of the original Raptors are still involved in the sport in some way
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
After 24 seasons, the Toronto Raptors won an NBA Championship for the first time since they were founded in 1995.
The team was part of the NBA’s expansion into Canada, that also included the debut of the Vancouver Grizzlies. Since the Grizzlies moved to Memphis, Tennessee before the 2001-02 season, the Raptors have been the only Canadian-based team.
Most of the original Raptors are still involved in the sport in some way, while others have parted ways.
Below we take you through what the earliest Raptors are up to today.
Doug Christie was traded to the Raptors in the deal that gave the Knicks Willie Anderson. He remained with the team until the end of the 1999-00 season. In 2000, Christie was traded to the Sacramento Kings, where he developed into one of the best defenders in the game.
Christie played in the NBA for 15 years, but was sidelined in 2005 due to bone spurs. He underwent ankle surgery that caused him to retire two years later. Now, he is a commentator for the Sacramento Kings on NBC Sports California.
Damon Stoudamire was the Raptors first ever draft pick in the 1995 NBA draft and went on to win the 1995–96 NBA Rookie of the Year Award. He averaged 9.3 assists and 19 points per game. He was given the nickname “Might Mouse” because he is listed at 5 feet 10 inches and had a Mighty Mouse tattoo on his right arm.
Stoudamire retired in 2008 and began coaching. He became the head coach of the University of Pacific men’s basketball team in 2016.
Jimmy King was drafted by the Raptors in the second round and played 62 games during the inaugural season. He spent one season with Toronto.
King played for the US national team in the 1998 FIBA World Championship, winning the bronze medal. His playing career came to an end in 2005. King is now the vice president of TruChampions, an educational and high school sports recruiting firm.
Acie Earl was traded to the Raptors before their first season and posted his best statistical year with 7.5 points per game and 3.1 rebounds.
Earl began playing overseas in 1998 and retired in 2004. He now runs a basketball skills and training program called Venom Sports Training in Iowa City. Earl has also written several books about basketball and is an adjunct professor at the University of Iowa.
Vincenzo Esposito was the first player signed by the Raptors. He spent one season with the Raptors before deciding to return to Italy. He retired from basketball in 2009 at 40 years old.
Esposito’s career spanned 24 years, 762 games, with 13,286 points scored. He began coaching after his retirement and is now the head coach of Germani Basket Brescia.
Tony Massenburg spent 24 games with the Raptors in 1995 before he was sent to the Philadelphia 76ers. He shares a NBA record with Chucky Brown, Joe Smith, and Jim Jackson for having played with twelve different teams over his career.
John Salley played one season with the Raptors before joining the Chicago Bulls, with whom he won his third championship with.
Salley has made several movie and television appearances since retiring from the NBA, including ‘Bad Boys’ and ‘Bad Boys II’. He is also a vegan activist and is an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry. He also has his own cannabis brand called Deuces22.
Massenburg stepped away from the NBA in 2005. He attempted a comeback in 2007, but was waived before the season started. He now contributes to CSN Mid-Atlantic’s coverage of the Washington Wizards.
Oliver Miller came over to the Raptors in the expansion draft after two seasons with the Phoenix Suns and one with the Detroit Pistons. He averaged 12.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game in one season.
Miller stopped playing basketball in 2010. He had some post-career troubles, but was most recently inducted into the University of Arkansas Sports Hall of Honour in September 2016 and was selected as a SEC Basketball Legend in January 2017.
Tracy Murray played the best NBA season of his career with the Raptors, averaging 16.2 points, 1.6 assists, and 4.3 rebounds per game. Murray left the team after one season to sign a contract with the Washington Bullets (now Washington Wizards).
Murray was an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2015-16 season. He is now an analyst with the UCLA Sports Network for all games during the UCLA Bruins’ basketball season.
Ed Pinckney spent one season with the Raptors. He participated in the first tip-off in Toronto Raptors franchise history facing off against Yinka Dare of the New Jersey Nets on November 3, 1995. Pinckney retired from basketball in 1997.
After Pinckney left basketball, he was a radio and television analyst for the Miami Heat from 1997-03. Most recently, he was an assistant coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2016-19.
Willie Anderson posted 12.4 points per game with the Raptors. He was traded to the New York Knicks in 1996 for Doug Christie and Herb Williams.
Anderson went on to play for the Miami Heat and overseas before retiring from basketball in 1999. He appears to have turned to coaching since he left. He is mentioned as the head coach for an AAU team out of Georgia. His daughter, Alex, also played in the WNBA.
Alvin Robertson’s last season in the NBA came with the Raptors. He scored the team’s first points off Pinckney’s won tip-off with a three-pointer. Robertson holds the record for most steals per game with 2.71 and is one of four plays to have a quadruple-double.
Robertson has had some troubles since leaving basketball, including a charge for sexual assault of a child, which he was later found not guilty for. Robertson said in late 2015 that the accusation “ruined” him and that he “lost everything.”
Carlos Rogers played two full seasons with the Raptors. He was traded midway through his third year to the Portland Trail Blazers. He averaged 8.4 points per game in Toronto.
Rogers helped evacuees in New Orleans after Katrina, bringing an SUV-load of laundry soap when the washers and dryers arrived without detergent, according to ESPN. He also took part in an episode of Oprah’s Big Give in 2008. In 2016, he surprised his daughter during a performance on stage.
Croatian Zan Tabak was taken in the expansion draft after seeing some playing time with the Houston Rockets. The 7-footer averaged 7.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game in his first season with the Raptors.
Tabak bounced between Europe and the United States during his playing career, ultimately retiring in 2005. He was most recently the head coach of Real Betis Baloncesto in Seville, Spain from 2016-17.
Sharone Wright was a lottery pick for the 76ers in 1994 and was traded to the Raptors midway through the 1995 season. He only played in 11 games, but was a big impact player, scoring 16.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
Wright was in a severe car accident during the 1997-98 season, which caused serious injuries and cut his career short. He recovered and returned to play internationally in 2002 and retired in 2008. He is currently a private coach in South Carolina for the company CoachUp and his son, Sharone Wright Jr., plays for Wake Forest University.
Herb Williams played only 31 minutes with the Raptors before returning to the New York Knicks where he spent his final seasons before retiring in 1999.
Williams was an interim head coach and assistant coach throughout 2003-14 and became the assistant coach of WNBA team New York Liberty in 2015.
Martin Lewis was drafted in the second round by the Warriors in 1995, but only played with the Raptors. He averaged 4.7 points and 1.8 rebounds per game over 16 appearances. He left the NBA in 1997 and played for various D-League teams from 2001-02.
Brendan Malone was named the first head coach of the Raptors by general manager Isiah Thomas.
After one season with the team, Malone went on to serve as assistant coaches for several other NBA teams. He last served as an assistant coach for the Detroit Pistons from 2014-16.
Darrell Walker was an assistant coach for the Raptors during their inaugural season and served as head coach from 1996-98.
Walker is now the head coach of the men’s basketball at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
John Shumate served as an assistant coach from 1995-98. He stepped away from coaching for several seasons before returning to coach the Phoenix Mercury in 2003 and the Phoenix Suns from 2009-10. He is now retired.
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