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My brother-in-law has always loved playing basketball.
But now he lives in a Hong Kong neighbourhood where opportunities for a pick-up game are somewhere between slim and none.
He is visiting Toronto for a few weeks and wants to play.
So, from where he is staying near the upscale Yonge and Eglinton neighbourhood, we set out yesterday to find a ball.
We didn't need a $100 leather ball or one endorsed by the NBA or one blessed by LeBron himself. Just a regulation-size basketball. Shouldn't be hard, you would think, in a city that is home to an NBA franchise.
We headed to one of the biggest sports stores in the area. It has the word "Sport" in its name.
I weaved through the tables and racks displaying $100 T-shirts and could not find a basketball. I asked a guy wearing a name tag. Eager to please but completely confounded, he panicked. "Maybe we have one or two here ..." he stammered and walked around the store wide-eyed until finally he found a manager who confirmed that, in fact, this sports store does not sell basketballs.
Like at so many "athletics" stores these days, a lifestyle was for sale, not basic equipment.
On Yonge, I drove from Eglinton north to the end of the retail strip between Lawrence and York Mills. Maybe I missed something, but I could not find one store that sold a football or basketball or baseball glove.
I drove back south and dropped my brother-in-law at the Yonge and Eglinton mall. I didn't know of any sports store in there but wanted to be thorough.