An evening well spent with the NBL Canada crew
You do it right.
That was absolutely the essence of small-city sports at the John Labatt Centre on Friday night, excellent crowd of families, lots of kids, lots of fun and people cheering their heads off.
We’ll have a lot more later today here when they get around to posting the story I just filed for tomorrow’s paper but a few quick hits off the Doug Does The NBL Canada Night.
(Oh, and all you Chaucer’s people, thanks a lot for the tip, great spot; see you back for the final, I hope)
So what’s the talent level like?
Well, there aren’t a lot of talented big men in the games I’ve seen and there weren’t any in London so there’s not a lot of play off the post but there’s also not a lot of isolation and the game does have a bit of a flow.
There are a lot of drive-and-kick moments, neither team really had a “break-down” guy they could put on the wing and let go so it could be a bit frenetic at times.
There were a lot of three-pointers, a bit of off-the-ball movement and there are guys who get at it defensively.
A couple of people – London coach Michael Ray Richardson and Gabe Freeman of the Lightning – equated it to a D League game and while I’ve only seen D League games on TV, I don’t doubt that the top NBL Canada teams could more than hold their own in a game.
But the game was competitive and went down to the final seconds – the Mill Rats had an open game-tying three go in and out with about four seconds left – and you can’t ask for much more than that.
Best “entertainment” moment?
The Chicken does a front roll-tumble over three June Taylor Dancers who were lying face down on the court.
(That’s code but it was cool).
Oh yeah, Raptors take note:
We’re sitting courtside just before the start of the half and the nice lady from the scoring table crew comes down with a box of homemade “playoff cookies” that were delicious.
A tradition that should begin at the Air Canada Centre, by the way.
I’m watching the warm-ups and there’s one guy who looks really familiar, a rather chunky big man on London who has the look of one of those grind-it-out defenders and rebounders teams have for those moments when grit is called for.
I’m trying to figure out where I know him from and he takes off his shooting shirt, his uniform has “M. King” on the back and it hits me.
Played for Canada a long time ago, was with Jay on the ’04 team that went to Puerto Rico and failed to qualify for the Olympics. Hadn’t seen him or heard from him since.
But what’s it say about a guy that eight years later – and I don’t know what he’s been doing in the interim – he’s out there still making something of a living playing ball the same way.
There’s your “Where Are The Now” for the day.
A digression of sorts:
And I tell you, if these aren’t the most gaudy (read “ugly”) jerseys in the recent history of sports, I don’t know what is.
Whatever happened to teams just having a couple of uniforms, one light and one dark; you work light at home and dark on the road and it was a special night when – back in the day – they switched up for one night.
Now you’ve got home jerseys and road jerseys and third jerseys and throwback jerseys and special occasion jerseys and – you know I can’t wait for these – camouflage jerseys and the head spins.
I know it’s all about marketing and sales and separating fans from a bit more of their hard-earned money but, really? It’s too much sometimes.
Okay, almost time to drive, which means you’ve got a couple of hours to get the final mail stuff in; do it here and I’ll talk to you from Auburn Hills tonight around 7:30 for the IGBT, right?