The moment the final buzzer sounded and the first bottles of champaign were popped on that historic June night back in 2019 in Oracle Arena, Kyle Lowry was already thinking about how he could get back.
That's all the former Toronto Raptors guard has wanted since winning his first NBA championship, he told CJ Mccollum on the Pull Up with CJ McCollum podcast. It's why, Lowry said, he signed with the Miami Heat this summer. He wanted to join Jimmy Butler and make another run at an NBA title as the final years of his NBA career tick away.
"For me, it's only championships or bust," Lowry said.
That hasn't made the transition away from Toronto easy for Lowry and his family.
Back in March, Lowry thought he might be on the move at the trade deadline. He and the Raptors were in constant communication leading up to the March deadline and both parties mulled over their options including deals from Miami and Philadelphia. Ultimately, Lowry said he wanted to stay with the organization and continue to watch Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, and Chris Boucher grow.
"It makes my heart feel great to watch those guys be successful," Lowry said.
When the offseason rolled around, the writing was on the wall. Toronto wanted to go with a younger group and Lowry felt Miami gave him a better shot at another championship.
Now he's learning to adapt to his new surroundings for the first time in almost a decade. For his children, things are a little strange, Lowry joked. One of his sons wasn't accustomed to doing the pledge of allegiance before classes start and was confused when everyone put their hand over their heart and "started saying some words."
"It's different," Lowry said. "It ain't no more Oh Canada."
To Lowry, Toronto is still home. It's the city that provided him his first big opportunity when he was just 26 years old. It's where he became an All-Star, a gold medalist, an NBA champion, and a legend.
"It means everything to me," Lowry said. "It's somewhere that I became a man, that I became who I am."
One day Lowry will get an opportunity to be fully celebrated in Toronto again. He's already committed to signing a one-day contract with the Raptors and Larry Tannenbaum and Masai Ujiri are planning to celebrate him with "everything and some."
Until then, Ujiri has said he'll be wishing Lowry and the Heat well and there's little doubt Lowry will be keeping tabs on Toronto, his "little brother" VanVleet, and the rest of his old Raptors teammates.