Wallaceburg native celebrates stats career in NBA
By Dave Gough
Karl Toulouse has one of the best seats in the house for Toronto Raptors games.
Toulouse, who was born and raised in Wallaceburg and now lives in London, has been a statistician for the Raptors since their opening season in 1995. Over a quarter century later he’s usually still at centre court in the second row as part of the Raptors’ stats crew.
Toulouse got his start as a statistician after he was cut from the men’s basketball team from Seneca College in 1989. Still wanting to be part of the game he loved, he was offered the statistician gig for the Seneca College basketball teams.
“I guess you can say my playing career ended and my stats career began,” Toulouse said.
Toulouse got his start doing high school, college and university games around the Greater Toronto Area.
Through networking, working hard and being at the right place at the right time, more opportunities came Toulouse’s way. He was hired by the Raptors as a statistician in 1995. He has done close to 1,000 NBA games since then.
The Raptors played their first-ever game, a preseason tilt in Halifax against the Philadelphia 76ers, on October 14, 1995. Toulouse was there.
After 28 years, Toulouse said the gig isn’t getting old.
“I’m still having a lot of fun. It never gets old because there’s new exciting players coming into the league. There’s new and exciting places when the Raptors take us when they have pre-season games,” Toulouse said.
Toulouse made the trip to Tokyo, Japan in October of 2019 when the Raptors played pre-season games against the Houston Rockets.
“A lot of things are still very exciting. I am just really happy and still feel very privileged that I’m here with this gig.”
Getting a chance to see the Raptors up close, Toulouse has seen a lot of top-end talent. He has also been able to see the game grow in Canada over the past 28 years. When the Raptors made their debut there were two Canadian players in the NBA. Last season 24 Canadians played in the league.
“I have seen the game grow in Canada by leaps and bounds,” Toulouse said, noting the interest has grown in minor and youth basketball organizations.
“I didn’t have that when I was growing up and I wish I would have had the minor programs to play in.”
The NBA isn’t Toulouse’s only gig, he also is a statistician with the London Lightning of the National Basketball League of Canada and with the Canadian Elite Basketball League, where he is a consultant with the league, helping out where he can, especially on the game operations side.
Earlier this month, Toulouse was part of the stats crew for the first-ever WNBA game held in Canada.
A Wallaceburg District Secondary School grad, Toulouse was recognized for his efforts by being inducted into the Wallaceburg Sports Hall of Fame in the coach/official category in 2020.