Fred VanVleet & Adrian Griffin: Wichita's pride for NBA champion Toronto Raptors

Ted "The Sports Head"
June 14, 2019 - 11:36 am

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

In pro basketball, the Toronto Raptors are NBA champions for the first time in their 24-year franchise history after defeating the defending-champion Golden State Warriors 114-100 in Oakland in Game 6 of the NBA finals; Toronto won the best-of-seven series 4-games-to-2.

Former Wichita State point guard Fred VanVleet was the "6th man" coming off the bench for the Raptors. VanVleet scored 22 points, making five 3-pointers, and going 5-for-5 from the free-throw line; 12 of his 22 points came in the fourth quarter.

The game was close, featuring eight lead-changes and nine ties.

This marks Canada's first championship among the four major sports leagues (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL) in 26 years; the last one was the Toronto Blue Jays defeating the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1993 World Series. That series also had a Wichita connection, as the series-ending home run by the Blue Jays came from former Wichita State slugger Joe Carter.

VanVleet becomes the first former Wichita State player to win an NBA championship in 27 years, since Cliff Levingston won back-to-back titles with the Chicago Bulls in 1991 and 1992. Former Shockers Dave Stallworth and Nate Bowman also won NBA rings with the 1970 New York Knicks.

Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin also gets an NBA championship ring; Griffin led Wichita East high school to a state title his senior season with the Blue Aces.

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