Sports Illustrated July 1 2019 Toronto Raptors Kyle Lowry

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The journey took him from Cardinal Dougherty High to Villanova, where his game blossomed after his college career nearly fell apart. Coach Jay Wright remembers his two years with Lowry vividly. “He wanted to do things his way,” says Wright. “The other side of it was you always knew he was intelligent and he had a good heart. Really, it was a strange combination.” Lowry’s insistence on doing things his way had Wright wondering if the four-star recruit was worth the trouble:

“It got to the point where I said, ‘If you don’t do it our way, you’ve got to go.’ ” In August, Wright warned Lowry: Don’t ditch freshman orientation. On the first day Lowry was a no-show. Wright was incensed. He intended to toss Lowry off the team. When he tracked Lowry down, he was in the hospital. He had torn his ACL in a summer league game that morning. But he was back on the floor in December and missed only seven games.

The journey took him to Memphis, where he saw the team draft another point guard, Mike Conley, after his rookie season, then to Houston, where he chafed under the direct, brusque style of coach Kevin McHale. It finally took him to Toronto, where be developed into an All-Star but couldn’t overcome LeBron James in the playoffs, where he bottled up his anger in the aftermath of the Raptors’ trading his best friend, All-Star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, where he played with amazing fire in the Finals, culminating in a 26-point, 10-assist effort in Game 6 at Oakland, ending the Warriors’ reign. 

“Words can’t describe the feeling,” says Lowry. “Wow. Just f------ wow.”

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