The Toronto Raptors play their home games in the province of Ontario, but it appears that one of their star players has found a possible new vacation home in “Pascalifornia.”
Against the LA Clippers on Wednesday night, Raptors forward Pascal Siakam put up a set of strong performances, with the Raptors closing out a six-game road trip with their fifth consecutive win, by a 103-100 score.
The Raptors are now tied by points percentage for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Due to the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Cleveland Cavaliers, they sit in seventh.
“We’re just resilient. We just want to fight every single night, no matter what’s happening, the odds against us, or whatever the case might be,” Siakam said. “[If we’re] one man down or two men…[we’ll] just continue to play, you know, fight to play together as a team and try to get a win.”
And with the Raptors on a sudden hot streak, “Pascalifornia” trended on Twitter last night throughout the win.
The nickname seemed to first pick up through an unlikely source — a Twitter parody page called “Ballsack Sports.” The account emerged with a fake OG Anunoby quote riffing off the “LeBronto” moniker given due to the future Hall of Famer in relation to his dominance over the Raptors. (For what it’s worth, James has gone 0-6 against the Raptors since 2018.)
The Raptors have STRONG words for LeBron. OG Anunoby says Nick Nurse has “figured” LeBron out. pic.twitter.com/n8zHkYa5wr
— Ballsack Sports ® (@BallsackSports) March 15, 2022
Some took the quote at face value, while others recognized it as parody. Regardless, it had an undeniable sticking value.
The parody page didn’t invent the nickname — you could find a few instances of it being used across Twitter earlier in the season — but it gave it an extra signal boost that coincided with a hot stretch of Raptors play.
Whatever the origin, it spread like wildfire around Raptors fans.
Raptors “Superfan,” Nav Bhatia said on a Complex Canada Instagram post based on an article around the nickname that it “had a good ring to it.”
The name even made its way onto the Sportsnet broadcast during last night’s contest.
Pascalifornia is a real thing y’all pic.twitter.com/gKiMsGHQ9C
— Libaan Osman (@libaanstar1) March 17, 2022
By the time it had finished, Siakam had put up 58 points, 22 rebounds and eight assists over the two games in Los Angeles.
But as for Siakam himself? He’s not too sure about the new nickname.
“I don’t know nothing about that. I’m just trying to play, man, get wins for my team,” Siakam said when asked about the nickname. “If it happens to be in sunny California, I’ll take it.”
Asked Siakam about the Pascalfornia nickname he's picked up over the road trip:
"You gotta gimme a better question than that!"
"I'm just trying to play man, get wins for my team. If it happens to be in sunny California, I'll take it." pic.twitter.com/g9GwH0qB5P
— Adam Laskaris (@adam_la2karis) March 17, 2022
The Raptors return home to Scotiabank Arena tomorrow night when they host the Los Angeles Lakers for the team’s first visit to Toronto since March 2019. A series of pandemic-related issues moved their away contests over the last two seasons. Perhaps Pascalifornia will make a visit north.