The Toronto Raptors as an organization have been going through quite the transformation lately. They hired Tim Lieweke away from AEG to be their CEO back in April, and this off-season they've reassigned GM Bryan Colangelo and hired Masai Ujiri away from the Nuggets. Now, according to Lieweke, the Raptors may also be considering a mascot change.
I've always hated the Raptor. Well, hate may be a strong word, but naming a team the "Raptors" in 1995, when Jurassic Park was the highest grossing film of 1995 and Lost World was coming soon to a theater near you was always the crassest sort of opportunism. Prior to JP, raptors were birds of prey (which is what they still are, by the way). They really should have a guy dressed up as a falcon or an eagle at their games.
So going away from a misnamed mascot with direct ties to a 20 year old film franchise seems like a good call. But at the same time, one wonders what names they would come up with if they followed the same strategy today? Toronto's a big film town, the Hollywood of Canada (OK, that's really Vancouver, but bear with me); what if they just adopted a naming model where every couple decades they adopted a hot new movie-themed team name? What would the equivalent "Raptors" name be in 2013?
The Toronto Vampires (or alternatively the Werewolves) -- I have managed to mostly ignore the whole Twilight phenomenon, lucky me. Too bad they traded away Ed Davis (whose given name, in case you were wondering, is indeed Edward). Maybe they could get him back and also coax Jake Voskuhl (who coincidentally last played for Toronto) out of retirement. Fun fact: there has never been a player who went by "Jacob" in the history of the NBA. Seems like the ship has already sailed on this name though -- vampires are so 2009. Oklahoma City should have acted when they had the chance.
The Toronto Avengers -- What better way to replace a dinosaur than with a Hulk... or an Ironman? With this team name, you wouldn't be limited to just one costumed dunker for your half time show. You could have a whole dunk team, though Thor might have to put down his hammer to catch the ball.
The Toronto Hobbits -- On second thought, probably not the best name for a basketball team, based simply on physical characteristics.
The Toronto Transformers -- Sure, the Transformers movies have been around for awhile now, but let's face it, Michael Bay is not going to stop (unless we stop him).
The Toronto Enterprise -- See, this name is both retro and current. Plus, Star Trek style basketball uniforms would be so awesome.
The Toronto Tributes -- From a timing standpoint, this one is gold. The first Hunger Games movie was big, the next one's going to be even bigger. And they're going to keep on coming. Plus, the team could debut the new name in November, just when Catching Fire is hitting theaters. Get me Tim Lieweke on the phone!
The Toronto Wizards -- The timing is a bit off, I'll admit, but a Harry Potter themed team could be pretty huge. Oh wait, someone already did that. You really have to admire the foresight of the Washington franchise in hitting on the name. The Bullets became the Wizards on May 15, 1997. The first book in the Harry Potter series was published the following month. More like marketing Wizards than basketball Wizards!