TAMPA, Fla. — The Toronto Raptors are “snow birding” their way to Tampa when the NBA season tips off next month because of travel restrictions the Canadian government has put in place stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moments after Raptors president Masai Ujiri confirmed the news in a statement on Friday, Matt Shapiro of 1771 Designs designed a pair of “Tampa Bay Raptors” T-shirts.
“Hot off the press,” Shapiro said off the first shirt design. “‘We The South.’ For those who aren’t following the Raptors, their slogan is ‘We The North.’ Now that they’re moving south. Let’s Do ‘We The South.’”
The Raptors will play 36 home games at Amalie Arena, the home of NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning.
Even if the Raptors’ move to Tampa Bay is only for one season, Shapiro, a die-hard Tampa Bay sports fan, loves the idea of having a pro basketball team to cheer for.
“The fan base seems really excited,” Shapiro said. “It’s a chance to see basketball in Tampa Bay that we’ve never had before.”
The NBA season begins on Dec. 22.