By James Pavel

It serves as another excuse for English instructors to take a gluttonous pull from a cheap bottle of wine, but besides the spotty English, the Toronto Raptors “We the North” marketing campaign has created a glowing aura surrounding the only Canadian NBA team.

The Raptors succumbed to the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the NBA playoffs this past week and the playoff participation was the primary reason the Raptors were abuzz across Canada. But secondly, would be the aforementioned ambitious hash tags and advertisements that finally embrace the seclusion the Raptors exist in.

For too long, the Raps have been alienated by their distance. The only squad playing under the reign of Stephen Harper, they haven’t had an appealing identity since the day Vince Carter exiled himself back down south.

The “We the North” ploy is successful because it embraces the Canadian elements. Toronto is not Florida nor is it California. It’s a land where if you want to play ball 12 months a year, you better come equipped with multiple pairs of long johns. The winter night is pitch-black by 6 p.m. so you better adapt those daggers to flood lights and burning fire.

“We the North” is about Toronto but even more about Canada. It’s a long over-due battle cry from a country that despite its underwhelming population is pumping out world-class ballers.

The intense commercials also make a number of references to arguably the most electrifying television show on TV at the moment, “Game of Thrones.” The North, the wolves, the enchanting epic quality of it all makes one want to practically suit up for Khalessi and begin slaughtering the Lannisters (I wish.)

The Raptors have the most relevant rapper at courtside almost every game and now one of the hottest marketing mantras in sports. They have finally found an identity outside of their on-court strategies and it’s a development that should continue to foster even more basketball fans across the great white north.