Hoopla!: Inside the Toronto Raptors' First Season


240 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 0-7710-1067-2
DDC 796.323'64'09713541





Reviewed by Bob Forsey

Bob Forsey is the education officer at the Newfoundland Museum in St.


As this book demonstrates, winning an NBA franchise takes more than an
ownership group with deep pockets and well-connected friends. Would-be
owners must also show a love of the game, creative imagination, and a
never-quit attitude. Written by veteran sports columnist Jack Batten,
Hoopla! provides basketball fans with an insider’s view of the
strategies involved in acquiring an NBA franchise and building a
competitive team.

Among those John Bitove Jr. recruited to win the Toronto Raptors’
franchise were communications magnate Allan Slaight and former Ontario
premier David Peterson. They and other key players presented themselves
to the franchise committee as “regular guys who cared about
basketball” and who had the “creative wit” to provide fans with
“NBA style entertainment.” In building the Raptors organization,
President Bitove hired, among others, Isiah Thomas as general manager
and Brendan Malone as head coach. Batten describes the power struggle
that emerged between Thomas and Malone, who drafted and signed the
players. The Raptors, led by Damon Stoudamire and Alvin Robertson,
proved their competitiveness by winning 21 games in their first season.

Batten’s love of the game, which started when he saw the Toronto
Huskies play the Knicks on November 1, 1946, shines through in this
insightful analysis of the Raptors’ first season.


Batten, Jack., “Hoopla!: Inside the Toronto Raptors' First Season,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 19, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/3927.