BRING THE RAPTORS TO SAINT LOUIS FOR THE UPCOMING NBA SEASON

BRING THE RAPTORS TO SAINT LOUIS FOR THE UPCOMING NBA SEASON

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Jonathan Rahul started this petition to Senator Josh Hawley and

With the ongoing pandemic restricting travel between the US and other countries, professional sports in North America has reached a breaking point, specifically regarding teams belonging to our neighbors in the North. Bubbles have proven successful ways to continue business for these sports franchises while also sustaining our recreational culture that unifies metropolitan communities and the surrounding jurisdictions through entertainment and civic pride. With the NBA considering a quick commencement of their 2020 - 2021 season after the recent successful conclusion of their 2019 - 2020 season we find ourselves in a unique position to show some international hospitality to our maple syrup fueled companions by hosting and adopting the lone Canadian team, the 2019 - 2020 world champion Toronto Raptors, here in our Gateway to the West. 

St. Louis, or as residents call it, "The 4our", has a storied basketball culture, starting with longstanding high school basketball excellence. Legacies established by schools such as CBC, Webster Groves, Vashon, and Chaminade contribute to packed gymnasiums every winter as these skilled athletes compete at prodigious levels while attendees watch and cheer with frenzy and enthusiasm that rivals levels seen at professional events. It's telling that such an environment has matriculated current professional stars like Patrick McCaw, Bradley Beal, and Jayson Tatum, who maintain close ties to their home, Beal with his AAU team, Bradley Beal Elite, which coaches and mentors young athletes to reach their highest potential, both athletically and personally, and Tatum with his outspoken vocal support and endorsement of St. Louis style pizza and popular pizzeria franchise Imo's.

The excellence extends to the fervent following of our namesake university team, the Saint Louis University Billikens who have to their name 10 NCAA Final Four Tournament appearances, and a recent Atlantic 10 Conference championship in 2019. Additionally, St. Louis has maintained a consistent tenure in hosting various stages of the NCAA Final Four Tournament, with participation as recent as the previous season and the Final Four taking place here back in 2005. 

This illustrious regional basketball culture dates back to our own professional history, with two NBA teams calling St. Louis their home, the St. Louis Bombers and the St. Louis Hawks, who later relocated to Atlanta only ten years after they won a national championship. Fittingly "raptor" means "bird of prey" under which hawks are classified. Coincidence? More like providence.

So with all of this as a testament to St. Louis' appropriateness as a temporary host to the beloved Toronto Raptors it is especially confusing that Quinton Lucas, the mayor of Kansas City is attempting to court the esteemed franchise as well. What a dishonor and disservice would be done to the valiant athletes from the North to be relegated to play in such an unfitting environment. Can Kansas City tout an equally lauded reputation for Dr. Naismith's legacy? I challenge them to try. 

Thus it seems when considering options for accommodation, St. Louis is the only reasonable one. I urge the local regional leaders, Mayor Lyda Krewson, Congresswoman Elect Cori Bush, Former Congressman Lacy Clay, Congresswoman Ann Wagner, Senator Josh Hawley, and Governor Mike Parsons to put in swift bids and arguments for our rightful place as the temporary home of the Toronto Raptors.

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