The Toronto Raptors are a Canadian professional basketball team based in Toronto, Ontario. The Raptors compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA), as a member club of the league's Eastern Conference Atlantic Division. The team was established in 1995, along with the Vancouver Grizzlies, as part of the NBA's expansion into Canada. When the Grizzlies relocated to Memphis, Tennessee to become the Memphis Grizzlies in 2001, the Raptors became the only Canadian-based team in the NBA. They originally played their home games at SkyDome (later renamed Rogers Centre in 2005), before moving eastward along Bremner Boulevard to the Air Canada Centre in 1999.
Like most expansion teams, the Raptors struggled in their early years, but after the acquisition of Vince Carter through a draft day trade in 1998, the team set league-attendance records and made the NBA playoffs in 2000, 2001, and 2002. Carter was instrumental in leading the team to 47 wins and their first playoff series win in 2001, where they advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals. During the 2002–03 and 2003–04 seasons, they failed to make significant progress, and Carter was traded in 2004 to the New Jersey Nets.
After Carter left, Chris Bosh emerged as the team leader. In 2006–07, Bryan Colangelo's first full season as President and General Manager, a combination of Bosh, 2006 first overall NBA draft pick Andrea Bargnani and a revamp of the roster helped the Raptors qualify for their first playoff berth in five years, capturing the Atlantic Division title with 47 wins. In the 2007–08 season, they advanced to the playoffs again, but failed to make the playoffs in each of the next five seasons. In a bid to persuade Bosh to stay, Colangelo overhauled the team roster for the 2009–10 season, but Bosh signed with the Miami Heat in July 2010, ushering in yet another era of rebuilding for the Raptors.
After Masai Ujiri was brought in as the new General Manager in 2013, he traded Bargnani to the New York Knicks. With a backcourt led by Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, the Raptors returned to the playoffs, won their second Atlantic Division title, and won 48 games in the 2013–14 season. However, they failed for a fourth consecutive time to advance beyond the first round of the playoffs. In the 2014–15 season, they won 49 games, but failed for a second consecutive year to advance past the first round of the playoffs, getting swept by the Washington Wizards, 4–0. In the 2015–16 season, they won 56 games, finishing in second place in the conference for the first time in franchise history. In the playoffs, they won their first playoff series since 2001 by defeating both the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat in seven games, advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time against the Cleveland Cavaliers, only for the Raptors to lose to the eventual NBA champions in six games. In the 2016–17 season, the Raptors made the playoffs again, this time defeating the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round, but were swept by the defending champions in the second round. In the 2017–18 season, they won a franchise record 59 games and sealed the top seed in the Eastern Conference for the first time in franchise history, guaranteeing the Raptors home advantage throughout the Eastern Conference half of the playoffs. However, their franchise record-breaking season was cut short when they were swept by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round of the 2018 NBA playoffs.