Newspaper from 1994 shows Raptors were almost called the ‘Terriers’

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Expansion in the NBA is an exciting time for fans in a new city. Often times, fans of a newly minted team get some kind of input on what they end up calling the eventual franchise. In 2008 the Oklahoma City Thunder almost ended up being the Bison, which would have definitively been much, much cooler.

But I digress.

The Toronto Raptors were founded in 1995, and before they settled on the Cretaceous moniker, Canadian residents were able to give their input on what the team would be called.

According to some recent tweets containing scans of old copies of the Toronto Star, a local radio station had a contest where people could vote for their favorite names. The team wasn’t obligated to go with whatever Canada chose as their favorite, but it at least gave them a solid direct poll of the fanbase.

To that end, team could have been named something very different. Among the most hilarious of these names?

  • Kool Kats
  • Metro Maroons
  • Mighty Dunks
  • Slam Jammers
  • Air commanders
  • Blue Basketballs
  • Canadian Eh’s
  • “Dons”
  • Dragons
  • Whiskeyjacks
  • TimberWolves
  • Sauras Rex

The odd part? Vancouver was awarded a team that same year, and they did select the Grizzlies. Also, Timberwolves being on the list was strange — Minnesota had already been in the league since 1989.

According to the Toronto Sun, the names that got shortlisted were the Beavers, Bobcats, Dragons, Grizzlies, Hogs, Raptors, Scorpions, T-Rex, Tarantulas, and the Terriers.

At this point it feels like “Raptors” fits, even if the team has undergone some poor branding and colorway issues in recent memory. It’s definitely better than the Toronto Saurus Rex.