It’s been a tumultuous year for the Toronto Raptors as they’ve struggled adjusting to their new digs at Amalie Arena.
The Raptors haven’t played a proper home game in more than a calendar year, and while the team has won four straight, its players — especially adopted Toronto son Kyle Lowry — can’t help but feel homesick.
“We miss Toronto. We miss home,” Lowry said on Thursday. “We miss everything about that. That part alone is difficult to deal with.”
For the six-time All-Star, it’s the lack of familiarity that he misses the most while being away from Toronto.
“Being able to be around the people who are so nice and friendly, and happy to cheer for you. Going to some of your favourite restaurants. Going to the stores you’re familiar with,” Lowry told USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt.
“Being able to drive down the Gardiner [Expressway], driving the DVP [Don Valley Parkway]. Just being able to go to our practice facility, the OVO. Just the normal everyday stuff of walking Bloor Street or walking down University Avenue and seeing fans, and interacting with them.”
Meanwhile, Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia and Destination Canada, Canada’s tourism department, teamed up to curate a special care package to help hold the players over for the remainder of the season. The care package contained Canadian exclusive treats like ketchup chips, Coffee Crisp chocolate bars, OVO gear, and a Nav Bhatia bobblehead.
“The small, little tiny things made me smile,” Lowry said. “It made you miss Canada and the amazing-ness of Canada. That’s what the package did for me. You get a taste of the things you missed.”
With 13 games left in the regular season, the Raptors, who currently sit 11th in the East, are making a late push for the final spot for the final play-in tournament spot.
More from Yahoo Sports