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Kyle Lowry is actually a nice guy. He just doesn't care if you know it

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TORONTO – People like Kyle Lowry don’t come around very often. Anyone who has been paying attention to the Toronto Raptors for the past seven seasons can tell you that. But that doesn’t mean he has to look very hard to find someone just like him, if in miniature form.

At any given moment they’re running around his North Toronto home, or bouncing around the customized, chauffeur-driven van he uses in part so he can give them his full attention while making his way around his adopted city, or climbing over his locker at Scotiabank Arena after another one of their Dad’s all-out nights at work.

They’re his kids, Karter and Kameron, aged seven and three, and they’re a lot like him: smart, tough, talented and competitive, sometimes to a fault.

“My kids are going to be way better than me,” Lowry told me in a relaxed moment before the playoffs heated up. “The problem I see with them is they’re too competitive. That’s the problem I see. That’s not [always] good, but it’s great.”

And … no surprise. Nature? Nurture? It hardly matters. Lowry has spent most of his professional career trying to harness an ultra-competitive drive that can push teammates and coaches to the limit, but has helped him become one the best all-around guards in the NBA.

Cosmic jokes being what they are, now he’s seeing it from the other side.

“… Running down the steps, tag, finishing dinner, who showers first, they are way too competitive. I will not lie to you,” he says, laughing. “That is a problem in my household right now which I truly appreciate but I have to figure something out.”

He will. It has taken Lowry 33 years and 13 NBA seasons but he may never have had a better handle on how to best channel his own impulses for the good of the team.

“With Danny [Green] and Kawhi [Leonard] and Marc [Gasol] the role has changed in the sense of leadership and more selflessness,” he said Friday after the last practice before the second-round series against his hometown Philadelphia 76ers starts Saturday night at Scotiabank Arena. “Not shooting 20 times a game and having to be more efficient is probably the better word … but there are a lot of different things that have happened this year.”

His mindset remains the same as always.

“Win,” he said. “That it.”

They are countless ways to dive into the Raptors-Sixers series. On the floor will be two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference and some of the biggest stars in the league representing franchises that have made massive bets that they can squeeze through the window to the Finals LeBron James left open when he moved to Los Angeles.

But one way is to examine where Lowry is now compared to where he was the last time the Raptors met the 76ers in a second-round series, back in May of 2001.

Vince Carter vs. Allen Iverson? Matching 50-point games? Carter leaving the morning of Game 7 to attend graduation ceremonies at the University of North Carolina? Iverson sprinting down the floor, his arms spread wide in victory after Carter’s miss?

“I know that series like the back of my hand,” says Lowry.

He was 15 years-old and had just finished his freshman season as a rising star at Cardinal Dougherty High School. He was the always ornery point guard whose father had disappeared from his life just a few years earlier and who carried that boulder-sized chip and others – too small, not athletic enough – on his shoulders at all times. They fueled a drive that has made him arguably the most important player in Raptors franchise history and a not-so-apologetic pain-in-the-butt whose two boys may not have fallen too far from the tree.

C’est la vie.

“If you’re driven, yeah, it can be nasty and looked at the wrong way,” Lowry says. “… It’s hard to be who you are if you’re driven, but I want my kids to be driven too.

“If they want world peace, I want them to be driven to achieve world peace. Excellence will always remain important in my life and who I am and my family. That’s my........

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