Didn’t Kyle Lowry just sign a very lucrative extension with the Raptors?
This is what I wondered as I watched the intense point guard do work in the college counselor pick up games at adidas Nations this past weekend. Lowry worked the floor as if he was trying to get the Raptors into the Playoffs—talking shit, shaking down refs, hustling for more time on the clock via the scorekeeper—all while willing his team to victory. I guess this is who Kyle Lowry is.
Fresh off of signing a four-year contract with Toronto that will pay him $12 million per season, the 28-year-old Lowry is showing no signs of change despite his payday that followed a season averaging 17.9 points and 7.4 assists per game. Prior to his appearance at Nations, Lowry inked a deal with adidas, returning to the brand after a short absence. Before he took the floor, he gave SLAM a few minutes of his time.
SLAM: Congrats on rejoining the adidas family. Why was this the right decision for you?
Kyle Lowry: I’m excited to be back. I was with the brand for the first three years of my career and then had an opportunity to go somewhere else, but I found that there is nothing like adidas.
SLAM: It’s been quite the summer for you: A new deal with the Raptors and this deal with the Three Stripes.
KL: It has. Two big deals in one summer! It’s really wild, but when you’re on a team that wins, you take advantage of the fact that more opportunities come to you. This is a team game, and if you help your team do good, you get a chance to do good individually by joining people on good teams.
SLAM: What is your goal when you’re with basketball youth?
KL: Just to be around and to watch them play, and if there is something I can show them or tell them, I will.
SLAM: How much have these high school tourneys changed since you were on the other side of this?
KL: It’s amazing. This used to be just for superstar kids or American kids, and now it’s transferred to become more international. You have more media here now and the attention is on another level too. The exposure is there as well, with GMs here and coaches. Nations is a fantastic opportunity for kids to grow and they get a chance to see all walks of life when they’re here.
SLAM: It was amazing to see all the support the Raptors received from the fans this year. The game seems to really be growing in Canada.
KL: It is. Canada has had No. 1 picks in the NBA back-to-back now, and you have guys like Tristan Thompson and other guys that are going to be good. This is the support that comes when you win games and people respect how hard you play, and respect the effort you put out there every time you touch the floor. It brings everyone together. I’m glad the country had a chance to support us and a chance to see us play hard for them.
SLAM: What is it like being a professional and competing in the sport you love, while living in another country?
KL: It’s very different because it’s not home. But the Raptors organization does a great job trying to give us that home feeling as much as possible. It’s good, man. It’s been interesting. It’s a completely different walk of life. You have to understand that you’re not just playing for a city, you’re playing for a country with support from Halifax to Vancouver to Calgary—all those places and it’s really cool.
SLAM: What is going on with all this Canadian talent? There are so many great players coming from up North. How did this happen?
KL: It’s funny that you say that, because all those kids will tell you it was Vince Carter [laughs]. Maybe 20 years from now, kids up there might say I watched Kyle Lowry play. It’s such an experience every time you take the floor because you really don’t know who is watching and might be out there mimicking their game around you. You might have a guy in section 320 who has never seen you play, and this might be their only chance, so you want to give that person a good show. I think that is what Vince did for those kids.
SLAM: What’s next for the Raptors?
KL: My personal goal and our team goal is becoming the best we can possibly be. Hopefully we can take it to the next level. We made it to the first round of the playoffs this year and now we have to make sure that we play a lot longer than we did last year.