Lowry on 1st game back in Toronto: 'I know I'm going to cry'

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Toronto Raptors icon Kyle Lowry is well aware his highly-anticipated return to Canada as a member of the Miami Heat will be an incredibly emotional affair next season.

"I'm not looking forward to that first game back (in Toronto) because I know I'm going to get a tribute, and I know I'm going to cry," Lowry acknowledged to reporters, including TSN's Josh Lewenberg, shortly after he officially became a member of the Heat through a sign-and-trade agreement.

Lowry's Toronto homecoming will be long overdue. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the six-time All-Star's last game in front of the Raptors faithful at Scotiabank Arena was played way back on February 28, 2020, against the Charlotte Hornets.

While he's no longer a member of the organization, Lowry is confident his former club has the right core in place to sustain success long after he's gone.

"The direction that Toronto is going in, they want to give the opportunities to Freddy (VanVleet), Pascal (Siakam), OG (Anunoby) ... they're in great hands," Lowry said, according to The Associated Press' Tim Reynolds.

Lowry departs Toronto widely regarded as the greatest player in franchise history. The 35-year-old ranks first in assists (4,277), steals (873), 3-pointers (1,518), and triple-doubles (16) with the Raptors and is second only to DeMar DeRozan in points (10,540) and games played (601). Lowry also served as an integral part of Toronto's championship team in 2019.

Raptors governor and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment chairman Larry Tanenbaum says the organization intends to raise Lowry's No. 7 jersey to the rafters for his efforts both on and off the court.

"He will retire as a Raptor and his number will absolutely go up there. The honor will be the first one (for Toronto), and I love Kyle," Tanenbaum said in an interview with The Athletic's Jared Weiss.

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Lowry on 1st game back in Toronto: 'I know I'm going to cry'
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