So the NBA remains locked out and the Atlanta Hawks might have a new owner. Guess he doesn't mind the fact that he will lose money in Atlanta. That or he has bought into the belief that David Stern will win at the end of it all and provide a structure with cost certainty that makes an NBA Franchise a better investment. But there will be more than enough time to talk about the NBA Lockout in future days, weeks and months.
I am going to cover a basketball game this weekend. Canada Basketball is having a couple games this weekend vs Belgium. I admit I know little to nothing about Belgium but on the surface it would seem games that Canada should win. Games are taking place at Ryerson in Toronto at 6pm this Saturday and they travel down the highway to my neck of the woods at McMaster on Sunday Afternoon at 2pm. Admission is 10 dollars for both.
It makes me recall the last time the national Men's Team was here in Hamilton. This was before I had access with the Raptors and decided to go down and check it out more as a fan than as a journalist. I got a chance to talk with Sam Dalembert that day for about 10-15 minutes. I had got there early and happened to run into him. He was a very nice guy. It made the blowup that would happen later even more puzzling for me. This was a guy that I talked with 2 weeks earlier that was totally on board with playing for this country for a longtime. But a dispute with Leo Rautins lead to him being kicked off the team and him saying he would no longer consider playing for Canada with Leo in charge.
While winning will play a role in Leo Rautins future running Canada Basketball. It will also or should be about recruiting players to the program. Tristan Thompson will not be here in Hamilton or at Ryerson in Toronto playing for Canada. While you can understand why he isn't going to be with the state of things in the NBA. He is entering the league and has yet to play a game. It is vital that he does at some point though and this does not become another Jamal Maglorie situation. He along with Cory Joesph also drafted in the first round by San Antonio and Myck Kabongo who heads to Texas where both Thompson and Joesph starred will also not be there.
It is vital for Canada basketball to bring these kids into the fold. While Ryerson and Mac are nice venues to go watch basketball and be close to the action. It would be a lot nicer for Canada Basketball if they could be playing at the Air Canada Centre and Copps Coliseum. But those venues would be mighty empty as of now. But if you had young exciting Canadians that once the NBA is back should be part of the fold than perhaps that would draw some interest to make that a viable idea. Team Canada does have Joel Anthony and Andy Rautins both on NBA Rosters. But they are not going to draw like these kids could or Steve Nash would. In fact even Matt Bonner the Raptors former Red Rocket is likely to draw a bigger crowd.
He still remains stuck in limbo trying to become a Canadian and play for Canada. Why this is taking so long is anyone's guess. It sure didn't with Sam Dalembert who became a Canadian right here in Hamilton Ontario. The blame may be on the government and the system. It could be on Canada basketball for not being able to work the system to get him in. But one thing is almost a certainty if Bonner was a talent center in hockey he would have been singing O Canada and have his citizenship long ago.
You hope for the best for the program and they look to qualify for the Olympics in London soon. It great to have all of this talent coming up through their system. But if they can not cash in on it and turn that into a team that can compete and at least make World Championships and Olympics on the Men's Senior level it will be a failure. As a Canadian I am passionate about the success of Canada Basketball just as much as the majority of people obsess about hockey. But in Hockey there is so much talent it is easy to turn away a player here and there. In Basketball Canada needs it's very best to even have a chance to win. I hope for a day that we can see a team like that someday soon.
But for now any kind of basketball is welcome with the state of the NBA. So if you consider yourself a basketball fan and not just one of the Raptors or the NBA, then you have a chance this weekend to see some. There is a 100% chance to see these games. The percentage you see the Raptors open up against the Sixers in November gets lower by the day.