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Have you ever had a girl you used to talk to get complimented on songs you hipped her to? Well during his appearance on Take It There with Taylor Rooks, DeMar DeRozan personifies the NBA's version of that feeling when talking about his exit from the Toronto Raptors and the team's current championship run.
With the ninth pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Raptors selected USC's DeRozan, wpent the next nine years as the team's star. During his time in Toronto, DeRozan made two All-NBA teams (2017, 2018) and four All-Star appearances (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018) in addition to becoming the franchise's all-time points leader (13,296). So naturally it was shocking when he was the main piece in a trade package to acquire Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs over the summer. To add insult to injury, NBA fans feel like the team wouldn't be in the NBA finals without the lift from Leonard. But, DeRozan told Rooks that his dedication to Toronto is a major reason that the team is in position to compete for a title.
"I probably said this to my own inner circle, but if it wasn't for all the years and groundwork I did before then none of them things would have been possible," DeRozan said at the episode's 1 min mark. "Yes, I fought. I sacrificed. I pushed the limits to where I had to be the sacrificial lamb. You just got to sit back and understand like, 'you are the reason so many things were even possible.'"
Although DeRozan expressed that he was "extremely hurt" by Toronto following the trade, he seems to understand why he was dealt. "To their credit, they probably felt like it was time to see what we can get to make that next jump," he said. While he is no longer with the team, DeRozan says he's happy for his friends that still play in Toronto, and hopes they can pull out the victory.
"People got to understand, my best friend is Kyle [Lowry]," DeRozan explained. "So, I'm rooting for my best friend to do well. To accomplish something we tried to do all them years. He has the opportunity to do it. To all them guys on that team, they know I'm rooting for them."