In an effort to keep things light while also remaining competitive, Raptors head coach Nick Nurse and his staff have been awarding players with a toy WWE championship belt during many practices this season.
This ritual dates back to training camp in Vancouver, an idea credited to assistant coach Nate Bjorkgren. The original belt cost them a few dollars at Toys ‘R’ Us, but has since been upgraded to a higher-quality version that was proudly displayed by its latest winner on Thursday.
Fred VanFleet wore the black and gold prop on his shoulder as he conducted his scrum with the media following practice. Generally, a player has to earn the prize by finishing first in a drill or standing out in a scrimmage, but VanVleet got the belt for his work the night before.
For VanVleet, or any Raptor, to be wearing that belt seemed unlikely three quarters of the way through Wednesday’s game against Indiana.