TORONTO–Philadelphia 76ers coach Nick Nurse made his return to Toronto on Saturday where he had spent 10 years with the Raptors. He spent five seasons as an assistant coach before becoming the team’s head coach for five seasons where he made countless memories.
Nurse guided the Raptors to their one and only NBA championship in 2019 and he won 227 games across five seasons in Toronto. He is one of the top figures not only in Raptors history, but Toronto sports history as a whole.
“That’s a good word for it,” he laughed. “It definitely was. No doubt about it. Just weird in general being here the last couple days in the city, but it’s good. I don’t need to tell anybody in here how great the city is. It was fun to walk around a little bit and catch the vibe again and all that stuff. 10 great years. Lots of great memories.”
During the first timeout of the game, the Raptors displayed a thank you video to Nurse and the Toronto fans gave him a warm welcome back with a standing ovation. However, he didn’t see the video as he was too busy coaching up the Sixers who had fallen into a deficit early.
“I didn’t see it, no,” Nurse said afterward of the video tribute. “It’s nice, though. They did have some nice stuff for me in the back which is pretty cool. Some pictures and some stuff from the past. Nice frames. It was pretty cool.”
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Nurse has coached in plenty of different places and has made return trips plenty of times before. This one, however, felt different.
“I would say that I wasn’t ready for coming back this quick and I thought, like I said at the beginning, it felt way more stranger than I thought it was going to be,” Nurse added. “I know everything’s magnified on this level, but I’ve left teams and coached in places I’ve been many, many times in my career, right? But I don’t know.”
Toronto is different for Nurse. While he is zeroed in on coaching the Sixers and getting them over the hump in the Eastern Conference, he also acknowledges the success he had with the Raptors and the memories made.
“It’s 10 years,” Nurse continued. “My kids were born here, they have Canadian passports, all that time with the national team. Unbelieveable the way people have treated me here and an unbelievable city. It’s kinda hitting me a little bit. For sure.”