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Team highlight reels have as formal an organization as haiku.

Chop edits of faces and names; a banging hip-hop/arena-rock soundtrack; a series of athletic feats and, somewhere in there, an inspirational voice-over so adjective-heavy that it is just barely English.

These videos must be bland and non-specific so as to convey feeling at the expense of enlightenment. You don’t want to actually say anything other than “Sports is exciting, you should spend money on it.”

Then there is the pregame montage debuted before Friday’s game with the Boston Celtics. If these things are meant to be Rudy only shorter, this one was Le Sacre du Printemps. It was something so new that people aren’t sure what to think about it.

Over the opening minute, in the video produced by Rogers Sportsnet, the Raptors take the first quarter-century of their history and run it through an industrial shredder.

Vince Carter, Chris Bosh and Tracy McGrady – the holy trinity of Toronto basketball traitors – are reduced to nameless “He’s".

“Forget that he left, and he left, and that he left, too. They couldn’t bring us what we wanted.”

(Carter is on record saying he’d like to have his Raptors jersey retired. I would no longer hold my breath.)

The final judgment on all those franchise heroes and their eras?

“Hold them accountable for what they left behind” – and then a visual smorgasbord of Raptors busts such as Andrea Bargnani sitting on the bench looking forlorn.

After a decade spent hoodwinking teams in three countries playing a sport he never really liked, Bargnani has finally run out of suckers to fleece. Maybe the Raptors can fly someone to Italy to ring his doorbell and then slap him in the face when he answers. That would be completeness.

You may have felt a small thrill as you watched the Bargnani bit, the sort you get when you know you are seeing something wrong. Teams are meant to play nice with former employees, even the most useless of them. The Raptors suddenly are not.

Though the video is ostensibly about the arrival of Kawhi Leonard – he gets far and away the most screentime – its message is aimed at the audience. Aimed in the same way you might throw a small rock at someone’s head. To injure, but not to kill.

With hip-hop artist Saukrates in the role of Virgil, there is an extended detailing to the city and its fan base of all their sins. They are whiners, small-thinkers and wretched nostalgists.

“Please put it to rest. Stop fretting about will he stay or will he go. Enjoy this for what it is.”

To hear it told here, the thing that defines Toronto fandom is self-pity.

That’s absolutely correct, but it is a bit like someone getting on the intercom at Walmart to berate shoppers for being so cheap. It’s not considered smart business.

After this, the Raptors may want to change their slogan from ‘We The North’ to ‘Prove To Us You’re Good Enough To Live In The North’.

The most transgressive bit is still yet to come.

It arrives after a Viking ode to “true winners” – not that many people in these parts would know what that looks like. There is a clip of Raptors president Masai Ujiri and recently fired coach Dwane Casey in what appears to be a heated, finger-pointing argument as they walk up a tunnel together.

“If you want to be the best, then risks need to be taken. Feelings get hurt. People may leave,” Saukrates says.

This isn’t one across Casey’s bows. It’s a salvo of torpedoes into his side. It’s public-relations Pearl Harbor.

Imagine me pounding on the last three syllables as you read this – this sort of thing is not done.

In the hermetic world of the NBA, players may take shots at other players. That whips up rival tribes, deepens profitable enmities and so is encouraged to a point.

But bosses do not take shots at other bosses. That foments unrest at the corporate level. It does so among people whose professional horizon is a lot longer than the seven or 10 years a player might linger in the league looking to plant one in your back. It’s dangerous and is therefore forbidden by mutual self-interest.

DeMar DeRozan isn’t targeted so directly, but his treatment is more insulting. He’s shown for only an instant, not in any pose of action, but relaxing in front of his locker with earbuds in.

“You think it was easy to let this man go?” Saukrates asks incredulously.

Based on events, DeRozan’s lazy body language and the video you’re currently watching, the answer is ‘Apparently’.

It all ends with a reminder of what real winners look like – a final medley of celebrating championship teams from other, better cities.

The video doesn’t quite register upon initial viewing since it contains all the by-now bland tropes of the form – the music, the bodies in motion and the faux-meaningfulness of the script. The viewer is left with the sense of ‘Wait, did I see that right?’

A couple of more run throughs and you’re thinking, ‘I can’t believe someone agreed to let this be made, much less released’. A few more after that and you will be ruined forever for future highlight reels.

Shortly after the video made its debut, the Raptors kicked the hell out of Boston with Leonard leading the way. They are suddenly all of America’s second-favourite team.

A couple of days later, someone I know who does not care in the least about the Raptors, the NBA, Kawhi Leonard or Dwane Casey asked if I had seen the video. I had. Then she said, “I think I’m going to start watching basketball.”

That’s what good art can do.

We’re many months away from making any judgment on the Raptors season, but Rogers Sportsnet has already accomplished something remarkable. They just made the Citizen Kane of corporate videos. They took haiku and turned it into Shakespeare.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this column incorrectly attributed the video’s production to the team. In fact, it was Rogers Sportsnet that produced the video. This version has been corrected.

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