Naismith Cup

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

Other neutral site Raptors games in Canada and international opponents[edit]

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 TBD Toronto Raptors [34]
October 24 Montreal, Quebec Bell Centre New York Knicks TBD Toronto Raptors [34]

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 will play Maccabi Haifa of Israel in 2014, and have played away games against Lottomatica Roma of Italy and Real Madrid of Spain in 2007.[35][36]


  1. ^ "Raptors romp over Grizzlies in annual Naismith Cup". Kitchener Record. October 19, 1999. 
  2. ^ Feschuk, Dave (March 8, 2007). "Time for some bonding Mitchell; Team unity crucial for the stretch run". Toronto Star. 
  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". Toronto Star. 
  4. ^ a b MacLeod, Robert (October 17, 2005). "Homes isn't so sweet for Raptors". The Globe and Mail. p. S3. 
  5. ^ a b c "2009-10 Raptors Preseason Media Guide". Toronto Raptors. 2009. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  6. ^ a b "2010-11 Raptors Preseason Media Guide". Toronto Raptors. 2010. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  7. ^ Roberts, David (October 23, 1995). "Raptors maul tame Grizzlies". The Globe and Mail. p. E7. 
  8. ^ Clarkson, Michael (October 28, 1996). "Raptors unprepared for season". Toronto Star. p. D5. 
  9. ^ Smith, Doug (October 21, 1997). "Nasty win for Raps". Toronto Star. p. C1. 
  10. ^ Kingston, Gary (October 6, 1998). "NBA cancels rest of the pre-season". Vancouver Sun. p. E3. 
  11. ^ Smith, Doug (October 19, 1999). "Raps devour Grizzlies for first win". Toronto Star. p. C3. 
  12. ^ Smith, Doug (October 13, 2000). "Raptors win the Cup". Toronto Star. p. F3. 
  13. ^ MacLeod, Robert (October 11, 2003). "Game zapped at finish". The Globe and Mail. p. S5. 
  14. ^ MacLeod, Robert (October 21, 2004). "International flavour just not in the mix". The Globe and Mail. p. S3. 
  15. ^ JIa, James (2013-04-18). "Raptors wrap up season with best attendance in 4 years". Xinhua. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  16. ^ Young, Chris (1996-10-19). "Raptors suffer from Heat stroke with poor effort". Toronto Star. 
  17. ^ "Raptors-Knicks have date at Marine Midland Arena". Buffalo News. 1998-07-31. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  18. ^ "Raptors exploring playing pre-season games in Buffalo". The Sports Network. 2008-07-02. Retrieved 2013-10-08. 
  19. ^ Buffery, Steve (2004-11-03). "The road was paved". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2013-10-08. 
  20. ^ Kernaghan, John (1995-10-16). "Rookie guard leads Raptors : Franchise debuts with surprise win over Philadelphia 76ers". The Record. p. D3. 
  21. ^ Smith, Doug (1995-10-17). "Raptors target of Sixers' wrath". Globe and Mail. p. D8. 
  22. ^ Young, Chris (1995-10-20). "Run 'n' gun Raptors fall to Hawks in OT". Toronto Star. p. C7. 
  23. ^ "Hawks hand listless Raptors defeat in pre-season debut". The Hamilton Spectator. 1996-10-12. p. E3. 
  24. ^ Clarkson, Michael (1996-10-14). "Walker spurs gritty Raptors past Knicks". Toronto Star. 
  25. ^ Smith, Doug (1997-10-25). "Raptors in too deep against Nuggets". Toronto Star. 
  26. ^ "Raptors vs. Cavaliers game called due to wet floor". ESPN. 2003-10-23. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  27. ^ Harris, Bill (2004-10-18). "A.l.'s quick ejection seemed extreme". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  28. ^ Buffery, Steve (2005-10-25). "Shot down". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  29. ^ "Raptors end preseason with loss to Nuggets in Edmonton". The Sports Network. 2008-10-222. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  30. ^ Grange, Michael (2009-10-06). "Kapono, Raptors get fresh starts". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  31. ^ "Raptors 129, Suns 78". National Basketball Association. 2010-10-07. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  32. ^ "Raptors beat Knicks in Montreal". National Basketball Association. 2010-10-22. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  33. ^ "Raptors beat Knicks 107-88 in Montreal". National Basketball Association. 2012-10-19. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  34. ^ a b "Raptors To Play Preseason Games In Vancouver & Montreal As Part Of NBA Canada Series". Toronto Raptors. 2014-06-09. 
  35. ^ "History of the NBA Global Games". National Basketball Association. Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  36. ^ "Raptors Announce 2014 Preseason Schedule". Toronto Raptors. 2014-08-07. Retrieved 2014-08-07.