TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – #WETHESOUTH
“We love it,” said Bobby Webster, the general manager of the Toronto Raptors, when he was asked about the innovative hashtag. “We saw some of that as soon as we announced and we are ready to dive into this community.”
The move from their home in the north to their home in the south has been completed but the Toronto Raptors integration into the area is beginning with an abundance of optimism.
“We chose Tampa,” said Webster. “We wanted to come here and, so, it was not a situation where we were directed here.”
The players are currently living in a hotel in downtown Tampa and, if they stay there, they will be able to walk to Amalie Arena for their games.
“We needed to have an arena that could handle NBA games. We wanted to have a practice facility. We wanted to have medical facilities. We wanted to have living situations that were comfortable for everybody,” explained Webster.
While the team will play their home games at the home of the Tampa Bay Lightning, they will participate in training camp at Saint Leo University.
“We are thrilled the Bowman Center can be ‘We the South’ for a few weeks while the Raptors prepare to play in Tampa this season,” Francis X. Reidy, the athletic director at the university, wrote in a statement. “We have an outstanding basketball facility that will allow the team to accomplish their preseason goals in a safe, secure environment.”
The players will be tested for the virus on a daily basis but, on Tuesday afternoon, Webster admitted he is not overly concerned by the problems the virus could cause this season.
“It is a tough world to live in if that is constantly on your mind,” he said, “so our approach has always been to push forward to have a successful season, to make it to the playoffs, to contend for the championship, and to win the championship.”
Ohh, in addition to those goals, Webster and the rest of the organization would welcome a fresh set of Florida fans.
“If they want to adopt us as their team,” said Webster, “that would be great.”
The Toronto Raptors will be preparing for the start of the season at Saint Leo University from Tuesday, December 1 to Friday, December 11.
Their first preseason game is on the road against the Charlotte Hornets on December 12.
They will play their first home game, which is a preseason game, at Amalie Arena against the Miami Heat on December 18.