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Naismith Cup


Naismith Cup

Naismith Cup
Sport Basketball
Founded 1995
Country Worldwide
Ceased 2005
Last champion(s) Maccabi Tel Aviv

The Naismith Cup was an annual pre-season National Basketball Association (NBA) exhibition game. From the 1995 season through 2000, it was played between the two Canadian NBA rivals, the Toronto Raptors and the Vancouver Grizzlies, at neutral venues across Canada.[1] The cup was named after James Naismith, the Canadian inventor of basketball, and was originally created to raise money for Canada Basketball, similar to the Pearson Cup competition between Canada's Major League Baseball teams the Toronto Blue Jays and Montreal Expos (which have since relocated to Washington). Following the Grizzlies relocation to Memphis, the cup was laid dead.[2] The Raptors won the series against Vancouver 4–1.

In 2003, the cup revived as an international match between the Raptors and a European team, played at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. In 2003 the opponent was the Panathinaikos A.O. of Athens, Greece, while in 2004 the Benetton Treviso of Treviso, Italy visited Toronto.[3] The final competition in 2005 saw the Raptors' only international loss, against Maccabi Tel Aviv of Tel Aviv, Israel.[4]


Season[5][6] Date Location Arena Visiting team Score Home team Attendance Ref
Toronto-Vancouver series
1995 October 21 Winnipeg, Manitoba Winnipeg Arena Toronto Raptors 98–77 Vancouver Grizzlies 11,203 [7]
1996 October 27 Calgary, Alberta Canadian Airlines Saddledome Toronto Raptors 77–80 Vancouver Grizzlies 15,104 [8]
1997 October 20 Halifax, Nova Scotia Halifax Metro Centre Vancouver Grizzlies 98–107 Toronto Raptors 8,190 [9]
1998 October 19 Vancouver, British Columbia General Motors Place Toronto Raptors @ Vancouver Grizzlies
Cancelled due to 1998–99 NBA lockout
1999 October 18 Edmonton, Alberta Skyreach Centre Toronto Raptors 110–84 Vancouver Grizzlies 12,852 [11]
2000 October 12 Ottawa, Ontario Corel Centre Vancouver Grizzlies 92–97 Toronto Raptors 14,783 [12]
International series
2003 October 10 Toronto, Ontario Air Canada Centre Panathinaikos B.C. 76–100 Toronto Raptors 17,749 [13]
2004 October 20 Toronto, Ontario Air Canada Centre Benetton Treviso 83–86 Toronto Raptors 10,668 [14]
2005 October 16 Toronto, Ontario Air Canada Centre Maccabi Tel Aviv 105–103 Toronto Raptors 17,281 [4]

Other neutral site Raptors games in Canada and international opponents

In addition to the Naismith Cup games, the Raptors have played several other neutral site preseason games in Canadian cities. During their first two seasons of play (1995-1997), prior to the completion of construction on their new home the Air Canada Centre, the Raptors played three regular season games at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario.[15] The team also lost a preseason game to the Miami Heat 119–89 at Marine Midland Arena in nearby Buffalo, New York before 12,748 fans on 18 October 1996.[16][5] A second game, against the New York Knicks, was scheduled for 15 October 1998 at the arena, but was cancelled due to the 1998–99 NBA lockout.[17] The team has subsequently discussed the possibility of playing additional preseason and regular season games in Buffalo.[18] The Buffalo Braves played a total of 16 regular season games at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto from 1971-75.[19]

Season[5][6] Date Location Arena Visiting team Score Home team Attendance Ref
1995 October 14 Halifax, Nova Scotia Halifax Metro Centre Philadelphia 76ers 107–120 Toronto Raptors 9,367 [20]
October 16 Saint John, New Brunswick Harbour Station Philadelphia 76ers 121–93 Toronto Raptors 6,297 [21]
October 19 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Saskatchewan Place Atlanta Hawks 106–105 (OT) Toronto Raptors 5,648 [22]
1996 October 11 Halifax, Nova Scotia Halifax Metro Centre Atlanta Hawks 100–82 Toronto Raptors 7,589 [23]
October 13 Ottawa, Ontario Corel Centre New York Knicks 73–78 Toronto Raptors 9,662 [24]
1997 October 24 Hamilton, Ontario Copps Coliseum Denver Nuggets 114–100 Toronto Raptors 10,962 [25]
2003 October 23 St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador Mile One Stadium Cleveland Cavaliers @ Toronto Raptors
Cancelled due to wet playing surface
7,500 [26]
2004 October 17 London, Ontario John Labatt Centre Toronto Raptors 103–108 Philadelphia 76ers 7,619 [27]
2005 October 24 Winnipeg, Manitoba MTS Centre Portland Trail Blazers 105–98 Toronto Raptors 10,900 [28]
2008 October 21 Edmonton, Alberta Rexall Place Denver Nuggets 105–94 Toronto Raptors 17,534 [29]
2009 October 6 London, Ontario John Labatt Centre Toronto Raptors 98–107 Philadelphia 76ers 7,213 [30]
2010 October 6 Vancouver, British Columbia Rogers Arena Toronto Raptors 129–78 Phoenix Suns 18,123 [31]
October 22 Montreal, Quebec Bell Centre New York Knicks 103–108 Toronto Raptors 22,114 [32]
2012 October 19 Montreal, Quebec Bell Centre New York Knicks 88–107 Toronto Raptors 22,114 [33]
2014 October 5 Vancouver, British Columbia Rogers Arena Sacramento Kings 94-99 Toronto Raptors 18,900 [34]
October 24 Montreal, Quebec Bell Centre New York Knicks 80-83 Toronto Raptors 20,738 [35]

Since the end of the Naismith Cup, the Raptors have continued to play international opponents. They hosted Maccabi Tel Aviv of Israel again in 2006, Zalgiris Kaunas of Lithuania in 2007, CSKA Moscow of Russia in 2008, Real Madrid of Spain in 2012, and Maccabi Haifa of Israel in 2014, and have played away games against Lottomatica Roma of Italy and Real Madrid of Spain in 2007.[36][37][38]


  1. ^ "Raptors romp over Grizzlies in annual Naismith Cup".  
  2. ^ Feschuk, Dave (March 8, 2007). "Time for some bonding Mitchell; Team unity crucial for the stretch run".  
  3. ^ Quinn, Jennifer (October 11, 2003). "Lights out for Greek side; ACC goes dark at Raps' game with Panathinaikos Crowd of 17,749 watches visitors get trounced".  
  4. ^ a b MacLeod, Robert (October 17, 2005). "Homes isn't so sweet for Raptors".  
  5. ^ a b c "2009-10 Raptors Preseason Media Guide".  
  6. ^ a b "2010-11 Raptors Preseason Media Guide".  
  7. ^ Roberts, David (October 23, 1995). "Raptors maul tame Grizzlies".  
  8. ^ Clarkson, Michael (October 28, 1996). "Raptors unprepared for season".  
  9. ^ Smith, Doug (October 21, 1997). "Nasty win for Raps".  
  10. ^ Kingston, Gary (October 6, 1998). "NBA cancels rest of the pre-season".  
  11. ^ Smith, Doug (October 19, 1999). "Raps devour Grizzlies for first win".  
  12. ^ Smith, Doug (October 13, 2000). "Raptors win the Cup".  
  13. ^ MacLeod, Robert (October 11, 2003). "Game zapped at finish".  
  14. ^ MacLeod, Robert (October 21, 2004). "International flavour just not in the mix".  
  15. ^ JIa, James (2013-04-18). "Raptors wrap up season with best attendance in 4 years".  
  16. ^ Young, Chris (1996-10-19). "Raptors suffer from Heat stroke with poor effort".  
  17. ^ "Raptors-Knicks have date at Marine Midland Arena".  
  18. ^ "Raptors exploring playing pre-season games in Buffalo".  
  19. ^ Buffery, Steve (2004-11-03). "The road was paved".  
  20. ^ Kernaghan, John (1995-10-16). "Rookie guard leads Raptors : Franchise debuts with surprise win over Philadelphia 76ers".  
  21. ^ Smith, Doug (1995-10-17). "Raptors target of Sixers' wrath".  
  22. ^ Young, Chris (1995-10-20). "Run 'n' gun Raptors fall to Hawks in OT".  
  23. ^ "Hawks hand listless Raptors defeat in pre-season debut".  
  24. ^ Clarkson, Michael (1996-10-14). "Walker spurs gritty Raptors past Knicks".  
  25. ^ Smith, Doug (1997-10-25). "Raptors in too deep against Nuggets".  
  26. ^ "Raptors vs. Cavaliers game called due to wet floor".  
  27. ^ Harris, Bill (2004-10-18). "A.l.'s quick ejection seemed extreme".  
  28. ^ Buffery, Steve (2005-10-25). "Shot down".  
  29. ^ "Raptors end preseason with loss to Nuggets in Edmonton".  
  30. ^ Grange, Michael (2009-10-06). "Kapono, Raptors get fresh starts".  
  31. ^ "Raptors 129, Suns 78".  
  32. ^ "Raptors beat Knicks in Montreal".  
  33. ^ "Raptors beat Knicks 107-88 in Montreal".  
  34. ^ "Kings at Raptors - October 5, 2014".  
  35. ^ "Knicks at Raptors - October 24, 2014".  
  36. ^ "History of the NBA Global Games".  
  37. ^ "Raptors Announce 2014 Preseason Schedule".  
  38. ^ "Maccabi Haifa at Raptors - October 22, 2014".  
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