"It is Our Own Responsibility to Tell Canadian Basketball History" - Wayne Dawkins
I’ve been approached by a lot of people reminiscing on how it used to be in the G.T.A. basketball community. It didn't really hit me until some recent conversations with former Alumni and published Author Kern Carter (Thoughts of a Fractured Soul available at Chapters). He offered to co-write and edit my blogs because we agreed as a community if we wait for someone else to tell our history, it will be forgotten or told how someone else sees it. And the ability to inspire our own loses credibility when we just speak it, while others take the time to actually document it.
I was blessed to be a part of the great history of athletes and coaches in our community. And it's my responsibility to share the experiences I had with them through P.H.A.S.E. 1 and all the other organizations I co-founded (each organization should do the same). I say this not to claim any of their success, but celebrate being a part of their journey, what we at P.H.A.S.E 1 have coined the "Journey of an Elite 1". This represents an ongoing journey of setting goals and achieving them, creating a ripple effect of inspiring others to succeed.
Dr. Myles Monroe said true legacy is in people. It's my responsibility to leave a legacy to inspire the next generation, not just hope someone else will. I have watched as each generation in my community, including my own, keeps starting over and perpetuating the idea history started with them, or that the old guys had it all wrong.
The truth is I made many mistakes from a combination of not trying to help the ones before me get it right, and not having enough role models to help me build. Therefore P.H.A.S.E. 1 became the product of trial and error. So despite so much work done in the basketball community and assisting so many athletes reach their goals, the torch of P.H.A.S.E. 1, with all it's history in the community, could soon become fading memories of the alumni I speak to regularly.
It would do no good to sit around and join in with those complaining about not being recognized or relevant anymore. Those looking at Canada Basketball's hall of fame and keep getting upset because individuals or organization from their community are not being recognized. Or listen to the media try and convince the world the explosion of Canadian basketball started with the Toronto Raptors and Vince Carter.
Now stay calm. Our sacred Raptors played an important role in exposing the world to Canadian talent. But for us older basketball heads, we saw others grinding before the Raptors came - training, coaching, traveling - and building the individuals and organizations that gave birth to many of our Canadian pros from the G.T.A.
If history is not fully and accurately documented, we don't know how to truly connect the dots. And my worst fear is we may never know. We won’t know who played a role in inspiring much of what we see now. For example David Joseph (Corey and Devoe Joseph's dad) in the late 80's early 90's inspired me to be a trainer by training me and teaching me there is more to the game than just playing. I went on to get a scholarship to the U.S. and saw the influence of training on my success.
That laid the foundation for me wanting to train basketball players and not just coach. The result being two decades of me being involved with training many of Canada's top male and female players to date (www.phase1youthassociation.com). I had great coaches, but credit DJ for helping to inspire the passion to train, which he continues to do to this day.
As a co-founder of Grassroots Canada, I'm often disappointed that the organization is painted with the brush of it's current polarized leader. We gave birth to so much more than the NBA players on its alumni roster now. My original AAU teams in the late 90's - Prep Stars, Toronto Elite Development, and Ball Hawks - came together to form Grassroots and spawned the next generation of leaders in the basketball community.
Videl Massiah, Head of Northern Kings; Shane James and Jemino Sobers of Canada Elite; Kevin Massiah founder Rise Unlimited; Jessie Tippings owner ACTS Orangeville; Rans Brempong, West Coast SD Training; JR Patrick Basketball; Patrick Tatham, Head Coach of Ryerson Rams and 2016 CIS Coach of the Year. Even Mike George, NBA agent and founder of CIA Bounce suited up for Grassroots Canada.
There are many more to mention including better than 70% of the Canadian Men's National Team for over a decade, whose story I hope to one day share or hear acknowledged for their place in history.
One may argue I am claiming the success of our alumni, but I am simply claiming the ability to inspire. One of the great byproducts of documenting history is empowering everyone involved to inspire their own. We weren't perfect, but what organization is?
We've extended grace to the Toronto Raptors and recognize their contributions with great pride. We should extend even more grace and have more pride in our youth organizations that have been making the explosion of Canadian Basketball possible since before we had an NBA team, and are still doing it now with a fraction of the resources available to them.
That is the history our children and children's children deserve to be told to inspire them to recognize that success is not just their own arrival, but making the arrival possible for someone else.