Why Toronto was a special stop in C.J. Miles' NBA journey

On the debut episode of our new Raptors show, "Strictly Hoops with C.J. Miles," Miles discusses why his stint with Toronto was different than any other time he spent with an NBA franchise. The full episode can be listened to on the "Raptors Over Everything" podcast feed or watched on our Yahoo Sports Canada YouTube channel.

Video Transcript

AMIT MANN: And when you think about the city itself, the time that you had, your family, what was the family takeaway from the time in Toronto?

CJ MILES: So that's why I said basketball first. In terms of, like, life in general, like, Toronto will always have this-- it's hard to even argue. It might be one of the most special places in my heart till the day I'm gone because my whole life changed there.

Not only did we get to mix that good side of basketball, but, like, I had my first child there as everybody knows. She's more famous than I am. People ask about her, don't ask about me-- and my wife. They ask about them two before they ask about me. But that also puts a stake in the ground. Like, she's from there, and I'm going to make sure--

AMIT MANN: She's Canadian.

CJ MILES: --going to make sure she knows that, make sure she understands that, and makes sure she gets to go back and forth to see that. Like, that's-- so we're always going to be a part. Like, that's the thing. And it's just a special, special time, and they treated me so well-- the city, the organization.

And the way they grasp at something like that, like the birth of a child, the way they came around that, and it became this thing shows the type of values they have also as the people they are.

AMIT MANN: Can't remember what interaction it was, but we were talking a couple of times. And you had mentioned at some point that when you post something on social about the Raptors, things go off in a different way. Not that you're trying to get clicks or follows and stuff like that, but you just happen to notice that if anything Raptors goes down on your timeline, you're just like, wow, a lot of people interacted with this. [LAUGHS]

CJ MILES: No, it's different. I told you, it's a different thing because I don't-- like, until recently, because I've been playing around on Twitter, and I live tweeted the game yesterday a little bit, things like that, but I don't tweet a lot. Like, I'm off and on there.

But prime example, we're here because I randomly tweeted one tweet one day. And it turned into this whole thing. Those people are so supportive of their guys and love basketball so much. Like, it circles fast. And then next thing you know, the tweet screenshotted and put on Instagram, and I get tagged on Instagram the same day for it. And it's love, and I appreciate it so much. It's just fun, you know?

AMIT MANN: You still got CJ's PJs? Are they nearby?

CJ MILES: I do have-- I don't have them nearby. I do have a couple pair still to this day. I wish I had more. So funny-- so I traded my truck in the other day. I had to clean it out. I found a script from the commercial--

AMIT MANN: Oh! Oh, damn.

CJ MILES: --in my truck. And that was pretty cool. That was pretty cool.

AMIT MANN: [LAUGHS] We were in preparation for this happening and some of the graphics and stuff. We were looking around for photos of you with the Raptors. And we found this one that I thought you might like.

CJ MILES: [LAUGHS] I have that picture. That's a funny picture.

AMIT MANN: You do?

CJ MILES: Yes, I have that picture on my phone too. I like that picture too.

AMIT MANN: I had never seen it. My coworker Kieran is like, do you think he'll like it if this isn't the intro? And I'm like, oh, jeez, look at that.

CJ MILES: It's a great shot, though, at the same time, like, even though-- but it's just a great shot. Yeah.

AMIT MANN: It's like there's a pumpkin on your head.

CJ MILES: One of my few dunks, actually. I had dunked the ball. It was in Portland. I remember.

AMIT MANN: Yeah, you had a couple of crams, actually, on people. I remember you had one on Patrick Patterson, right? When he was with OKC, that was huge, actually. That was like a d-- d-- dunk on a man.

CJ MILES: Yeah, so two things-- in that game, Russell Westbrook looks at me after it happens and was like, what was that? Like, [LAUGHS] he says this to me in the game. You can still do that or whatever he says to me.

And then even funnier story, I get the training camp for the Raptors. I dunk in one of the drills. And Kyle Lowry is like, you can dunk? And I was like, look, and I told him. I said, by the time we reach December, January, halfway through the season, I'm going to have more dunks than you realize. And he was like, yeah, right.

And every time then after that, it became a thing. And then slowly, as the season gets going, things start changing. The way people play you changes. They start running you off the line even more. And I'm like, I'm going to go dunk the ball. Like, it's going to happen. And then it just happened to be my birthday when the Ruben Patterson thing happened-- not Ruben Patterson.

AMIT MANN: Oh, really?

CJ MILES: Sorry. Patrick Patterson.


CJ MILES: Yeah, that was on my birthday. That was on my birthday, actually.

AMIT MANN: No kidding.

CJ MILES: So maybe that's why that happened.

AMIT MANN: You should have counted to Kyle like, well, when was the last time you dunked? Can you dunk? Bad joke.

CJ MILES: To who? To Kyle? Yeah, to Kyle, for sure.

AMIT MANN: Yeah, when he said that. Yeah. And we had one--

CJ MILES: I messed with him all the time.

AMIT MANN: Yeah. You and him are boys too. And there will be Raptors, Raptor players on this from past, present, and so forth. I think a lot of people are curious if there's going to be interviews on this with guests and so forth. And in the words of Pascal Siakam, yes, sir. There will be.

CJ MILES: It will not just be me.

AMIT MANN: That will be happening. Yeah.

CJ MILES: Yes, it will not just be me talking the whole time. [LAUGHS]

AMIT MANN: On the current team right now, who are the players that you're closest with? I think people will probably have an idea, but yeah.

CJ MILES: I mean, me and Freddie talk religiously. And this is not to say we sit down and, like, have a powwow on FaceTime every time. But we stay in contact, and then we get together at some point once or twice throughout the year. Like, last year, went on vacation together. The girls get together. The kids play together. We make sure-- we just-- that's my brother. Like, we operate like that.

OG-- I'm still in contact with him. OG is a little different on the scale of how far it goes. But last night we talked for 30, 40 minutes after the game. And then we might not talk for three, four weeks. It is what it is. Like, but that's just-- but we're still close.

Me and Pascal don't communicate a lot. When we see each other, it's love. Like, we have a bond. We have a connection. That's forever-type thing. But we never talked on-- it was never that type of relationship with me and him. We just were good with each other. In the gym and in the same space, we were great, and we acknowledged that.

And Thaddeus Young, actually-- so we worked out together in Dallas. And we're around the same age. So we've been around each other last couple of summers because he lives up here in Texas in the summertime. So me and him are pretty cool. I know that one-- people probably didn't see that one, actually.

AMIT MANN: I actually didn't know that, so there you go.

CJ MILES: Yeah. And we played together in Indiana.

AMIT MANN: You did. Yes, yes, you did.

CJ MILES: Yeah, we had a year together with the Pacers. So that's where it starts, obviously.


CJ MILES: I think that's-- yeah, and then me and Earl Watson played together.


CJ MILES: And I know he's not a player, but that's just the thing with that. Me and Earl played together in Utah, and that's, like-- he was one of the greatest people I ever played with. I loved playing with Earl. He was so good for me, like, just mentally and how I approached the game. And just he did a lot for me in a short period of time.

AMIT MANN: The amount of players on the Raptors that have mentioned him specifically and how he's helped them develop in different ways, off the court, on the court, you can tell that he's had a great influence on the players.

CJ MILES: Yeah, he's going to be-- he's going to be great for a long time, coaching.

AMIT MANN: Beautiful. All right, so that's the intro, people.