An old friend comes back and another one leaves -- sort of
During the very cool Canada Basketball bun-toss and chinwag Thursday night, this little nugget was passed my way.
JT’s coming back.
That’d be Jim Todd, one of the all-time favourite Raptors assistants, and now he’s going to be working with Leo Rautins on the national team staff.
Michael Malone isn’t returning – he’s got a new gig in New Orleans he has to worry about – so the folks were trying to figure out where to find a replacement and they hit a homer, I think, with Jim.
He knows the game inside and out, he’s a great communicator and, let’s face it, working all those years with Sam has to have shown him how do deal with diverse personalities.
Not sure when the official announcement will come – the team starts assembling here on Monday – but it’ll be nice to see an old face when they start serious workouts on Wednesday.
Okay, a digression but I don’t care.
The Canadian newspaper business – and our little part of it in particular – is worse off today.
Dave Perkins, or Perk as he’s known to all and sundry, snuck out the back door at the end of Thursday, bringing the curtain down on an extraordinary career.
Now, he’ll still be around a bit – the tall foreheads at our place got it right and he’ll be an occasional contributor in his quasi-retirement – but his days as the full-time conscience of our department are over.
Perk’s a classic, and a giant. He’s been scribbling at our place for about 33 years, I think he said, and he’s done it all.
I’ve had the honour of working alongside him an awful lot, we walked the Great Wall of China, check out the Acropolis, saw Sydney Harbour and did sushi in Nagano and been in a whole bunch of North American cities.
If you think he tells a good story in print, you should have the privilege of sitting in a big old rental car smoking a foot-long cigar as he conducts his driving tour of New York City, which is a must for any young kid lucky enough to be there with him.
“Albert Anastasia got shot over there. This is where this other mobster got whacked. There’s where Lennon got it. That’s the greatest sportswriter bar in the world.”
He is a raconteur beyond compare.
Here’s the thing about guys like Perk. There aren’t enough of them left. I don’t think we’ve got one in this city, I can’t imagine there’s one like him anywhere else in Canada and the way our business is going, I’m not sure anyone can elevate themselves to his class.
Now, he’s a tad crusty and if someone sees this and points it out to him, he’ll probably be a bit miffed but, truth be told, our business lost a giant and it sucks.
You readers were better off for having Perk in your life and that’s about the greatest thing you can say about a typist in this gig.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this since it’ll probably evoke some questions.
Chris Bosh went on TV and said he didn’t check out and played hard.
Oh, one last shot at the mail. The plan is for me to get at least one morning off this weekend; not sure which one but I’d like to have the mail almost ready in case I want to do it tomorrow and shut it down for Sunday.
So click here, say hi, bring your best stuff.
Hey, I read that Chicago’s interest in Tracy McGrady is waning after he stopped by for a workout and an interview.
Wonder if he’ll be on Toronto’s radar now?
(I keed, I keed).
Oh, right, the Raptors.
They didn’t do anything yesterday, Bryan was at league meetings in New York, I understand, and it was a quiet day around the office.
Just keeping you up to date.
Actually, one little thing but I couldn’t nail much information down.
I do think there’s a chance they’ll add some kind of assistant to the staff, not necessarily a senior guy to replace Mark Iavaroni but there is some interest in another basketball development kind of guy.
No rush, of course, and no names at the moment.
Speaking of coaches, big weekend ahead for Jay.
He’s just come off a week with the USA senior team – he was at its Vegas camp helping out – and now it’s off to Dakar, Senegal, for the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program.
Jay and Masai Ujiri are part of the contingent that works with promising young African players on skill development at the camp.
Okay, another day, another drive down the QEW and another day of ‘not sure when I’ll get back here but I will’ scheduling.