Seeing your team win after you left has to be one of the worst sensations for a basketball player. That’s exactly what happened with DeMar DeRozan last year, where he saw the Toronto Raptors win their first-ever NBA title in front of the Golden State Warriors. DeRozan was shipped to San Antonio in the trade that sent Kawhi to Toronto and he had to see how his old teammates succeed without him just when LeBron James left the East.
During a recent interview with JJ Redick on his ‘The Old Man and the Three’ podcast, DeRozan spoke about his feelings watching his old team and most of his old teammates getting that ring just when he left.
“It definitely was tough. I was there 9 years, went through everything. Accomplished so much things that people said we’ll never be able to do. I think for me that was what drove me, my whole career-all the naysayers. My whole time there, of us trying to build a winning program. For me to turn an all-star starter, see the all-star game come to Toronto, make the playoffs, win every type of awards you can think of, and kind of trend in the right direction.”
Given that LeBron James was out of the East, it was the perfect time for the Raptors to transcend and make it to the Finals. DeMar was well aware of that and couldn’t help but wonder if he was the problem when the Raptors put their hands on the Larry O’Brien trophy (15:00 minute mark).
“For the only person we lost to, to leave, and us not being able to get a chance to see how that might have been like, for me personally. To leave and see what these guys went and did. It was tough. I’m not even going to lie. Especially once we lost in the playoffs and you see them winning, you kinda feel like ‘damn was I the problem’?”
DeRozan and Redick talked about it, discussing how difficult it was to beat LeBron in the playoffs. He had a 2-12 record against the King so you know how difficult it was for DeRozan to get past James.
That must have been a terrible feeling for him, who landed in a Spurs team that doesn’t look like the dynasty they were in the last 20 years. It’s been rumored that he’ll probably leave the team in the offseason. Perhaps he’ll join a contender and have another shot at that longed-for title.