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Prehistoric: The Audacious and Improbable Origin Story of the Toronto Raptors

The improbable story of the birth of modern-day pro basketball in Toronto

In just over 25 years, the Toronto Raptors have evolved from an intrepid expansion team to an NBA champion. But for all the triumphs of the past decade, the beginning looked a bit different. When the franchise began its first season in 1995, a pro basketball team in Toronto was viewed as an experiment. There was no playbook to follow, and very few people gave them a chance to succeed.

In Prehistoric, irreverent Raptors voice and culture writer Alex Wong explores the franchise’s fascinating and unconventional inception through 140 original interviews with those involved with the team’s very beginning, examining the process of how the team came up with their name and logo inspired by the blockbuster film Jurassic Park, taking a behind-the-scenes look at the drafting of star point guard Damon Stoudamire, telling the backstories of a group of misfits who formed the first-year roster, and providing an in-depth look at the team’s opening night victory at the SkyDome and the expansion franchise’s signature win over Michael Jordan and a 72-win Chicago Bulls team.

The Raptors boldly and intentionally pursued a much different audience in a hockey-first town. The result is a team who went through the necessary growing pains and eventually captured the heart of a city, as told in this essential origin story through the lens of the people who were there to help lay the foundation for a thriving modern-day basketball franchise in Toronto.