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Tristan Thompson on facing Cory Joseph and his Raptors: “I always beat him.”

Every success story in the NBA can look back to the days when grind came before glory. It’s a tale of teens, with inspirational legends in their prime and role models in their lives; but what might be most memorable is that friend you had before you made it. For Tristan Thompson, it’s Raptors Point Guard and Conference Finals foe Cory Joseph. On the biggest stage for both competing Canadians, the playoffs have caused a mutual break in communication.

“He’s one of my really close friends, but right now he’s the enemy. Ain’t going to be too much brotherly love. We know we have to go at it… I don’t think I will be texting Cory for about week or so. Still love him though.” – Tristan Thompson

After a rather disrespectful showing from both the Cavs and Raptors in Game 1, there really can’t be any hard feelings between these two. Just business, which Joseph understands equally being a former teammate of Thompson’s at the University of Texas and another Rich Paul affiliate. Their last contact was even before he knew Cory would be visiting Cleveland Tuesday night. Thompson told Canadian Press that he texted Joseph “before Game 7, the night before” their emotionally lifting win over Miami.

Thompson made sure to give Raptors their rights, acknowledging that “for Canada, it’s huge” to reach its first Conference Finals. “Basketball has definitely grown a lot,” he says, “so for the Raptors to be able to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals it popularizes the game more. People are starting to pay attention and want to watch. It’s great for Toronto and the country as a whole.”

The connections between the two are striking despite the difference in game and body. Joseph too is a consistent, reliable hustler who can play off the bench because ultimately he plays for pride; but Thompson knows the original North star.

“I always beat him. We haven’t played in a long time. I’m sure if we did, I’d beat him.” – Tristan Thompson.

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