Ex-Cats

O Canada! Toronto Raptors make NBA champions out of two former Kentucky Wildcats

Check out all the drama from the 2019 NBA Finals

The NBA championship series between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors saw as much drama court-side as on the hardwood.
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The NBA championship series between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors saw as much drama court-side as on the hardwood.

The University of Kentucky was going to be a winner regardless of which team won the NBA Finals. It was just a matter of how many rings former Wildcats would receive.

Two, it turns out, was the answer: the Toronto Raptors’ 4-2 series win over the Golden State Warriors, clinched with a 114-110 victory in game six Thursday, meant that Jodie Meeks, a current player, and Jamaal Magloire, who works in basketball development and as a community ambassador for the team, earned championship rings.

Meeks signed a 10-day contract with the Raptors in late February but was not signed to a second 10-day contract afterward. He later re-signed with Toronto for the remainder of the season on March 26. Meeks averaged 6.4 points per game in eight regular-season games and scored a total of 22 points in 14 playoff games.

Toronto was the last team for whom Magloire played before retiring in 2012. He was the first player born in Canada to play for the franchise. Magloire, an All-Star in 2004, was an assistant on the Raptors’ coaching staff from 2013-2016.

Meeks was drafted 41st overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the 2009 NBA Draft. He’s played for seven different teams since leaving UK after his junior season, during which he set the Wildcats’ single-game scoring record of 54 points, which still stands.

DeMarcus Cousins, who signed a one-year deal with Golden State last summer, had an opportunity to become the first UK player coached by John Calipari to win an NBA title. The Warriors reached their fifth consecutive NBA Finals but fell to 3-2 in those trips.

Former UK player and coach Dwane Casey was named NBA Coach of the Year following the Toronto Raptors’ 2017-18 campaign but was fired by the team in the off-season.

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