Tonight, DeMar DeRozan is expected to get a warm welcome as he returns to Toronto to play against the Raptors for the first time since his trade.
The 6’7 shooting guard was traded to the San Antonio Spurs on July 18, 2018 for Kawhi Leonard — a day many fans will never forget.
DeRozan was selected by Toronto as the ninth overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft and played for Toronto for nine seasons, becoming a regular starter right away with five straight playoff appearances. He was the franchise leader in points (13,296), field goals made (4,716), free throws made (3,539) and games played (675).
Recent buzz over DeRozan’s homecoming has dominated Twitter feeds. Many fans have used the social media platform to ask that the athlete receive a standing ovation when he makes his appearance.
Not sure anyone in Toronto will know how to handle this. @DeMar_DeRozan returns to Toronto tonight to take on the @Raptors.@dgontheroad celebrates one of Toronto’s greats and looks ahead to this historic night in “Demur Departure” pic.twitter.com/dkBW2derWI
— NBA TV Canada (@NBATVCanada) 22 February 2019
A number of others showed their appreciation in more creative ways. Twitter users, Alison Craig (@lawandchocolate ) and Asad Ali Moten : (@asadalimoten) let their followers know they would be wearing their “Lowry-DeRozan court socks,” as a gesture of support.
— Alison Craig (@lawandchocolate) 22 February 2019
Toronto mayor, John Tory even weighed in DeRozan’s homecoming, commenting on the character of the former Raptors player.
“He’s a quiet-spoken person that just quietly goes about his business, and his business includes caring for other people besides himself,” he told reporters. “I’m happy where I’m at. I still talk to most of the guys. That part won’t change, but we’ve all moved on.
The Toronto Raptors game against the Spurs airs tonight, Feb. 22 at 7PM, EST.