Since I was a kid, I've been a Lakers fan. Hearing that Steve Nash, the greatest basketball talent this country has ever produced, is on his way to Los Angeles, should be welcome news.
But it doesn't feel that way at all. Why?
Because I'm a Torontonian that's why.
I totally understand why Nash chose the Lakers over the Raptors or any other team for that matter. He took less money to stay close to his family, play alongside one of the five greatest players ever in Kobe Bryant, will contend for a title, and enjoy warm winters in southern California. And Nash deserves it all. Who wouldn't take that deal?
But Toronto needed Nash for so many reasons beyond basketball.
The city is broken. Politically, emotionally, and most noticeably with its pro-sports teams.
Cities rally around teams. It happens in every city. It may be a different sport, but it's what people do. What did the Stanley Cup runs in Edmonton, Ottawa and Calgary do in recent years? How about the Olympics for Vancouver?
Toronto is beaten up. It has been 19 years since the Blue Jays were last in the post-season. The Raptors have won only one playoff round since joining the NBA in 1995. It has been eight years since the Argos won a Grey Cup. TFC has been a fiasco since joining MLS. And the Leafs? Never mind the Cup drought since 1967, they're the only NHL team not to make the playoffs in the post-lockout era.
Politically, the divide between the right and left has never felt greater in the GTA. It's a city that seems more rundown than the Gardiner Expressway, a traffic artery that seems to be crumbling daily.
In recent weeks, a string of gun violence has left Canada's largest community shaken while local authorities plead with residents the city is still safe.
Steve Nash was the perfect cure for a city with a frail psyche.
He could've provided that spark the city needed to feel good about itself again. For all this talk about how Toronto is the 'Centre of the Universe,' Hogtown is a sensitive soul.
There was anger in the winter when the Leafs collapsed, and the Jays failed to reel in Yu Darvish or even Prince Fielder. With Nash, its different. It's not anger, just disappointment. Nash represents himself globally in a way we should all feel proud of. He's the ideal Canadian. Smart, athletic, innovative, and with an incredibly social concious.
No one expected a title in Toronto from Nash, and this isn't to say he should've been obligated to come here in the first place. After all, he's a B.C. boy. But this city was looking for a ray of sunshine. Someone to make this city feel good about itself. They'll just have to find it someplace else. In the meantime, maybe we can all just crash on Landry Fields' couch until the clouds over the CN Tower lift.