Thank you Toronto Raptors for shining a floodlight on Canadian basketball. Here in Phoenix my friends have been saying to me basketball didn't exist in Canada before the Toronto Raptors were unearthed in 1995. As false as that statement may be, I can't blame them when Canadians ourselves either don't know the journey of our basketball forefathers or we don't share it with great pride.
The groundswell of energy from the older generation of Canadian basketball pioneers and long time Toronto Raptors fans is a byproduct of being forced into a forbidden love affair with basketball because hockey was the bride chosen for us. In the mid 90's the world couldn't see our basketball light with the massive shadow cast by hockey greats like Wayne Gretzky and the endless reign of Stanley Cups being won by Canadian Hockey teams... Montreal Canadians, Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers!
Canadian basketball pioneers the Toronto Raptors have blessed us with a great opportunity to share our personal and collective history before what has since been coined as "the explosion of Canadian basketball". We need to be proud to share the fact Canadian basketball was undergoing an implosion long before the explosion that produced, NBA lottery superstar Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Jamal Murray and now RJ Barrett, before the bigtime Canadian NBA agents and runners, before the major shoe companies turned upstart Canadian basketball programs into AAU backyard bullies, before the success of the Canadian National Team Program and before 2014 when Raptors fans made Jurassic Park the most famous and energetic public fan viewing square in the world.
I'm fortunate to have been entrenched in Canadian basketball for four decades and experience many of our basketball lows, highs, beginnings and ends. It's with great pride I share the Canadian basketball history of my peers and athletes I was blessed to be part of their journey. I hope more will do the same, so our children and rest of the world will know the love for basketball in Canada did not start with Vince Carter and will not end whether Kawhi Leonard stays or goes.
Read part 2 and 3 of my blog series "The Implosion That Caused the Explosion of Canadian Basketball" to learn more about Canadian Basketball History...