Rockford native Fred VanVleet is still riding a high after clinching Toronto’s first ever NBA championship with his team. VanVleet and the Raptors had a chance to finally soak in the moment with the rest of the city in Monday’s parade. According to the Associated Press, the celebration brought in an estimated 1.5 million fans.
The team’s bus route began at the Princes’ Gates at Exhibition Place and passed through various streets before ending in Nathan Phillips Square. That’s where the Raptors took to the stage to give their thanks. Before VanVleet spoke, the roar of the crowd erupted in a chant, “Freddy! Freddy! Freddy!”
“I ain’t got a whole lot for y’all,” VanVleet said. “I just truly want to say that you guys should really enjoy this moment. This is a really special moment, not just for us as an organization but for the city and country of Canada [and] me personally. You guys kill us when we lose. You killed us when we got swept two years in a row. So you better celebrate this […] for the rest of the summer. Until next year. We delivered. We delivered. Now it’s your turn to deliver for us. Enjoy it, man.”
VanVleet is Rockford’s first ever NBA champion. The city and the visitors bureau say they’re in the process of creating a downtown celebration for VanVleet when he returns. No details have been released yet.