Kawhi’s ‘The Shot’ Feels like it was 5 Years ago

Kawhi's shot

As we slowly navigate 2021, any joyful memory of recent years can provide a small moment where you forget the present. That’s what the 2-year anniversary of Kawhi’s Leonard’s series-clinching buzzer beater did for me this week.

Oddly enough, on the day I took the most important ‘shot’ of my life, I was reminded that Wednesday, May 19th, would be two years since every basketball fan held their breath as a ball bounced around the rim four times.

The ball went in and cemented the moment as one of the greatest times to be a sports fan in Toronto (Or anyone in Canada for that matter).

But as I watch the clip over and over this week, it feels like it was five years ago, not two. That’s just how long 2020-21 has felt being stuck and home and riding out this pandemic.

Kawhi’s buzzer-beater was the signature moment in an unforgettable Toronto Raptors Championship run in 2019. Every time I go through Exhibition Place, I am reminded of the parade that saw millions of people show up on a bloody hot day to celebrate. Will that type of gathering ever happen again?

Back to the iconic bucket that put Joel Embiid into tears.

Today’s question has been – where were you? Where were you when the dagger was about to drop?

I was on my couch at home which is where I watched every game. I don’t remember a lot from that day and all my Camera Roll says I did was fold laundry apparently.

folding laundry

It was a Sunday. It was a nice day. It was the day that would end late because of not only Game 7, but it was also the night of one of the most anticipated episodes of Game of Thrones. For those who did not black out from absolute joy, you will remember the ending of the game overlapped with the start of Thrones. So it left a lot of people relying heavily on DVR technology and the hope that Twitter would not share spoilers.

I remember it took me about an hour to calm down after the game. I had to watch all the post game interviews and the live news hits of what was happening in Toronto.

But I also knew I had to stay up and watch Thrones as there was no way I could get through the following day without hearing spoilers. It was the episode Daenerys burns Kings Landing to the ground. Kind of what like what Kawhi Leonard did to the Sixers.

I remember having to start it twice cause I fell asleep the first time. I got through it. It was hard. It was the episode when everyone kind of turned on the Mother of Dragons. So many questions but it was well after 1am and I could not process any more..

Then I remembered what had happened a few hours ago right here in Toronto. And I just smiled again. What a night. What a shot.

That evening will evolve in my memory for years to come. Were the boys up still? I forget. I know Katie was watching the game with me and my high levels of stress. What was dinner that night?

I remember the actual game being hard to watch due to how badly most of the players were playing. Nobody wanted to win it. Nobody could hit a shot. Kawhi was dragging the team to the end.

I remember how frustrated I was at the Sixers tying the game on a Jimmy Butler drive that I was yelling them to stop the ball all the way up the court.

I was ready for overtime and felt like maybe the demons of Raptors past was ready to strike. There was a definite – oh no – feeling in the building.

But Kawhi, man. He saved it all. That rim should also get a key to the city.

So that’s my flashback to May 12, 2019. A normal Sunday that most likely involved grocery shopping, bbqing and not looking forward to another work week, but ended in a moment that will be hard to forget.

Do you have a story? Where were you when the ball went in?