DeRozan recalls early Raptors days: 'I get drafted and go to another f—ing country'

Arun Srinivasan
Contributor
San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan had no idea what to expect upon being drafted by the Toronto Raptors in 2009. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

Although the notion has largely dissipated in recent years, there was a long-standing idea that many players had no idea what to expect upon joining the Toronto Raptors.

You could count DeMar DeRozan among those unprepared for the adjustment to life in Canada.

DeRozan, who established himself as one of the greatest players in Raptors history before being traded to the San Antonio Spurs in July 2018, reflected on his post-draft experience on HBO’s The Shop.


“I get drafted and go to another f—ing country,” DeRozan said with a smile, recounting the base familiarity of staying close to home while playing his collegiate basketball at USC.

“I didn’t even have a passport. You know what I mean?”

DeRozan also had a rude awakening upon dealing with Canada’s vicious winters.

“I get to Toronto. Winter comes, I’m still wearing Chucks. I’m the only rookie on the team. So I’m just in the gym every single night,” DeRozan said.

It’s clear that DeRozan quickly adjusted upon being selected ninth overall in the 2009 NBA Draft. He earned four All-Star Game selections, developed into a core member of a team that posted five consecutive playoff appearances, and became a beloved figure in Toronto.

DeRozan definitely has his passport now, although we imagine clearing customs isn’t much of a hassle, especially if the border agent has tuned into a Raptors game or two over the past decade.

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