From Rough Upbringing to NBA Finals Scar, Raptors’ Fred VanVleet Turns Pain into Triumph

LOS ANGELES — Before they knocked out the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors in this year’s NBA Finals, the Toronto Raptors were on the ropes. They were down 0-2 in the Eastern Conference finals to Giannis Antetokounmpo, the eventual MVP, and the Milwaukee Bucks. And Fred VanVleet, Toronto’s plucky sixth man, was stuck in a shooting rut. The day after a 22-point Game 2 loss at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, the Raptors gathered for what turned out to be a somber film session. In an attempt to lift his teammates’ spirits, Serge Ibaka stood up to share a story about how, in 2012, he and the Oklahoma City… Read More