Why Kyle Lowry was a unique teammate and leader

On the latest episode of "Strictly Hoops with C.J. Miles", Miles explains what made Kyle Lowry a special teammate and leader. Watch the full episode on our YouTube channel or listen on the "Raptors Over Everything" podcast feed.

Video Transcript

AMIT MANN: What was your perception heading into Toronto, of the GROAT?

CJ MILES: That he was a pit bull.

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

CJ MILES: Like, that he was going to do anything he could do to help his team win the game. Like, that was his reputation, from day one.

AMIT MANN: Mhm?

CJ MILES: And that he was going to flop a little bit sometimes. But we knew that already. So you knew he was taking charges and you knew he was going to bait you.

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

CJ MILES: But yeah, that was--

AMIT MANN: You play to win the game, you play to win the game, right?

CJ MILES: You play to win the game like that.

AMIT MANN: Do you remember your the first time you met him? Like, with the Raptors, I mean? Like, the first time they came in. CJ, Kyle, how are you guys doing? That kind of thing?

CJ MILES: Honestly, really, it was media day. Because I got to Toronto late my first year. Just 'cause I had some-- I was-- I had some family stuff that happened right before, so I got there type of-- kind of late.

But just that media day, and that's-- and it's good at that time though, because I have a reputation also, of who I am as a player and what I bring to the table. And I was feeling a need. So I had a track record of being able to do this. It wasn't like I was a young player that we were taking a chance on kind of thing.

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

CJ MILES: So it's easier with veteran guys, stepping in front of each other. There's respect already there. So it was easy for us to click on that point, because I know you have to be a worker to do what you're doing, and to be who you are, and to be in the league for this long. So there's a base level of respect that's so easy.

AMIT MANN: Hmm. Have there been occasions like, specifically, where you saw Kyle's leadership shine through? Like, he's able to take over games, like we have talked about. We've seen it so many times throughout his time with the Raptors, and even with Miami, too.

When he's got to turn up a little bit and look for his own offense, he can do it. But it seems like his leadership was on and off the floor. Were there occasions where you saw him do something?

Maybe with a teammate? You mentioned pulling players aside, that kind of a thing. Anything stick out to you?

CJ MILES: Oh. I mean, just his approach to how he treated everybody, and how he was with the young guys, and how he was with the people, and the things he did in the community. The things, like, he was just-- he went as hard on the floor and off the floor, in everything that he did, if that makes the most-- I think like, it was such a-- it was the same person in all those rooms.

So the same person that dives on the floor and takes hits on the floor, that's the way his approach was to everything. No, let's try to win the game. Like, if we're going to do something for the community, let's try to do it the best we can.

If we're going to have a team dinner, let's make sure that we get something out of it. And everybody gets there, make sure everybody is there and on time. And that we can build this fellowship, build this brothership. Brotherhood, I'm sorry.

But he just, he's a pit bull. Like I said.

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

CJ MILES: Like, that's his approach on everything. Like, and it's refreshing to see that in every room. But like, a guy like him, just the way he plays the game is almost enough though.

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

CJ MILES: He does any and everything. Like, he's felt no matter what. If he's 1 for 13, he's still felt in the game. And there's a lot of people that we can't say that about.

AMIT MANN: Sure. And that again, it speaks to his authenticity as a person, right? Same person on and off the floor, whether he's good, whether he's bad. He knows who he is, and he knows what he offers.

And when we talked about Fred VanVleet, last episode, you had said that it's easy for Fred, to defer what he needs to, contract year, when there's so much at stake for him, personally. His family, Kyle always talks about generational wealth. You can do all that stuff when you are comfortable with who you are, when you know yourself.

And it seems like Kyle, over time, he's really found who he is as a person, and who he wants the imagery of-- his NBA peers, what he wants people to think about him. And it seems like everyone, like, when it comes to his teammates, everyone kind of likes Kyle.

CJ MILES: Yeah. I haven't met anybody that didn't like him, that played with him.

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

CJ MILES: Like, I don't. I haven't-- I haven't got a story. I some guys that have played against him that don't like him, but it's strictly because he--

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

CJ MILES: What happened on the floor. Like, he's trying to win the game.

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

CJ MILES: And that, that gets thrown away, once you're in front of a guy, you know what I mean? Most times. Some of it doesn't. But like, most times. But it's such a genuine approach to everything.

AMIT MANN: Yeah. Was the Kyle and DeMar bromance as great as we all think of it was--

CJ MILES: Yes. it--

AMIT MANN: As it was?

[LAUGHTER]

CJ MILES: It is. It's exactly. Like, in every way that you think it is, it's exactly that. It's this. Like, those guys are-- it's like, it's great to see, 'cause you don't see it.

Like, you know guys that are really good friends. Like, so like, they make-- they make Pascal and Jacque look like distant cousins.

[LAUGHTER]

Like, and that's the best way to put it. That's the best analogy I could think of for that.

AMIT MANN: Yeah.