How Toronto's Papers Covered The Raptors' Big Win Against LeBron
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How Toronto’s Papers Covered The Raptors’ Big Win Against LeBron

In Front Page Challenge, Torontoist analyzes the best and worst of Toronto’s major dailies.

You would think the Raptors would be the big story of the morning, what with their hard-fought series with the Cleveland Cavaliers all tied up at two apiece. They are two wins away from making the NBA Finals, which no experts predicted as an outcome, especially versus the mighty LeBron James and his battle-tested squad. And although this story has made all five of the city’s papers for this week’s Front Page Challenge, it’s worth noting which ones give short shrift to the Raptors’ historic achievement.


globe may 24
The Globe and Mail


Canada’s National Newspaper™ has taken Canada’s Basketball Team to their collective bosom this morning with a dynamic photo of DeMar DeRozan and Bismack Biyombo celebrating in the dying seconds of their big Game 4 victory. In the background the Cavs’s J.R. Smith stands there with a “this is not good” look on his face. It’s the biggest win in Raptors franchise history and the Globe offers this moment pride of place on page one, above an appropriately themed paleontological article on dinosaur discoveries. Also in the news, Canada is under pressure to stand up to Russia (as promised by Justin Trudeau on the campaign trial—in fact you might say that human rights groups expect our Prime Minister to be Putin his money where his mouth is.


post may 24
National Post


The National Post always leaves people guessing, zigging while the other papers zag, sometimes contradicting even themselves from week to week in so doing. Last Tuesday their front page asked if Canada would now start to care about the Raptors–seven days later, Toronto’s scrappy team is now two wins away from making the NBA Finals, and the Post relegates this exciting development…to a little headline at the top of page one, above a photograph of someone in the woods foraging for some wild food to take to market. Sometimes there really is no way to please the National Post. Their top story is of Justin Trudeau and his wife stepping off the plane in Tokyo for a two-day diplomatic visit ahead of the G7 meeting. In a strange layout decision, an article about a study finding that up to three in 10 children in this country are “neglected” by their parents is placed next to an article about prospective Conservative leadership candidate Kevin O’Leary promising “adult supervision” to Ottawa in the near future (O’Leary apparently doesn’t appreciate the comparisons to Donald Trump, although at some point he will likely promise to “Make Canada Great Again” as he officially tosses his hat in the ring).


toronto star may 24
Toronto Star


The Star relegates the Raptors heroics to a little box at the top of the page, and the punmasters finally get to deploy the line “Jurassic Spark,” but frankly we think this is too modest a celebration for the paper’s front page. The main stories in the Star this morning concern the near-completion of the findings of the probe into the 2013 crash of an air ambulance in Northern Ontario that left four dead, a story on the battle of LGBT couples to receive full legal recognition as parents, and news on the acquittal of Baltimore police in last year’s murder of Freddie Gray.


metro may 24
Metro Toronto


Metro is bullish on the Raptors chances this morning, with a thrilling photo of a basketball balanced on the rim of the net and a story on how Bismack Biyombo’s spectacular playoff heroics have thrilled Toronto’s Congolese community. The other main story of the morning concerns whether Toronto will bid on hosting the 2025 World Expo; councillors feel Mayor John Tory’s “timid” approach to the bid thus far may jeopardize federal and provincial support for it. Last week’s Elbowgate story continues to reverberate with a Metro poll indicating public disappointment in how the NDP reacted to the incident, and the news that colleges in the U.S. are now offering Beyoncé courses.


Toronto Sun


sun may 24

The Sun goes all in this morning on the cover as one would expect, with the headline “Raps Back In It” and a package that offers “7 Raptors Pages Inside.” But with the Raps halfway to (eastern conference) glory, we would have expected a little extra oomph in terms of the Sun‘s front page tubthumping; the cluttered photo they chose for the front page is not particularly dynamic compared to the choices by the other Toronto papers. Frankly we would have expected the Sun to up their game in this moment; perhaps a little trash-talking of LeBron might have been appropriate here?


This week’s winner: The Globe and Mail takes this week’s trophy for paying proper tribute to the Raps. This would have been a golden opportunity for the Post to answer their own front page question from last Tuesday and show the Raptors some love, perhaps even pull off two Front Page Challenge wins in a row, but they dropped the ball. As a result, the race in this column’s weekly standings draws tighter.

Newspaper Number of Wins
Toronto Star 8
Toronto Sun 7
Metro 7
National Post 4
Globe and Mail 3


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