As the Toronto Raptors edge closer to NBA glory, one Londoner will have a front row seat to what may be franchise history.
One win is all that’s needed for the Raptors to be crowned champions as Toronto hosts the Golden State Warriors in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday.
Sitting in one of the best seats in Scotiabank Arena will be Karl Toulouse, a London man whose been the Raptors’ statistician since the team’s 1995 entry into the NBA.
A lifelong fan of basketball, Toulouse says his dive into the world of stats all began with a failed tryout for Seneca College’s basketball team.
Wanting desperately to be a part of the team, Toulouse convinced then-coach, Ernie Armstrong, to offer him a role off the court.
“He said, ‘Well I’ve got a manager, I’ve got somebody doing this, have you ever thought of doing stats?'” Toulouse said, adding that he immediately took up the offer.
Toulouse’s stats career would reach a milestone in 1994 when he worked the FIBA World Championship that was being hosted in Toronto.
“At that time, I met people from the John Bitove group, who were responsible for bringing the basketball franchise to Toronto.”
This meeting would lead Toulouse to signing on to the Toronto Raptors as the team’s statistician.
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Having recorded the stats for a number of Raptor legends including Vince Carter, Damon Stoudamire and Chris Bosh, Toulouse says not a single day at the court has felt like work.
Toulouse says one of his most memorable moments came in late May when he witnessed the team secure a ticket to its first-ever NBA Finals.
“Kyle Lowry let out the biggest smile walking down the court,” Toulouse said.
“It was just that sense of, ‘Oh my god. We are really going to the Championship final’.”
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Toulouse would later go on to become the statistician for the London Lightning. A job he was approached for at the dawn of the National Basketball League.
Toulouse describes his career as one that’s been an honour and a privilege.
“I’m a very fortunate man to be where I am today,” Toulouse said.
“I’m hoping that tonight is the night.”
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