The game's growth truly is global
So I was sitting around somewhere yesterday and the mind was wandering – as it does in so many different ways so often – and this struck me.
I know that basketball is growing all over the world, it has been since the Dream Team created such a buzz more than two decades ago, but this summer has made that point even more strongly.
How else can you explain the discussions we’ve had and the huge interest there is in the FIBA Americas tournament down in Caracas and the EuroBasket event that kicked off yesterday in Slovenia?
I can remember when they’d have the old Tournament of the Americas in some South America bus garage and it would go off in practically total anonymity, no one would care until it was over and we learned where Canada finished and the other teams were total mysteries.
Uruguay? Do they even play basketball in Uruguay?
Brazil? There’s that Oscar guy, right?
Argentina? Mexico? Venezuela? Soccer countries, right?
Now there are fans – thousands of them – who not only know about those other countries but who know of specific players from them.
We can discuss Marcelinho Huertas from Brazil, we know Esteban Batista was in the NBA, we aren’t surprised that Gustavo Ayon gets all the shots for Mexico and that Luis Scola is killing.
And we look at the EuroBasket thing and see that Finland upset Turkey and immediately check to see if Gordie Herbert was involved with the Finnish team (he wasn’t) and what Turk did for his homeland.
We can see Italy shocked Russia and Germany upset France and know who might have had an impact on those games.
(Of course, many were stunned that Lithuania lost to Serbia – Jonas had four fouls in 11 minutes – but that’s understandable)
It’s the overall growth of the game and the global interest that fascinates me. It’s been fun to watch for someone who’s been kind of on the periphery of it since the Jack Donohue days way back in the 1980s and I do thing it’s unique to the sport. I know the pucks may not agree and I have no qualms with that, totally expect it but to average Canadians – and by average Canadians I don’t mean the Anglo middle class that was so average for so many years – basketball is becoming the game of their homeland and their new land; it’s created unprecedented interest in things that aren’t NBA-centric and I find that very cool.
Oh, and the NBA hasn’t forgotten at all about its North American roots even as it increases its footprint around the world.
This club initiative that began yesterday is a significant move to connect people across the country; you can read about it here and it’s another big step.
I know that we are coming up to the Golden Age of Canadian basketball, we’ve talked about that forever. The global reach, our interest in things non-Canadian, non-Raptor, non-NBA is even more impressive.
Everyone should have seen the Tragically Hip by now, right?
Line of the TV night?
“What is there a beaver in my sink?”
Yes, Duck Dynasty is the greatest!
It has come to my attention that it’s about 3 1-2 weeks until training camp starts – for me, the pucks I see are underway now – and as smart people say: Where did the summer go?
But I’m wondering how the fans among you feel about the whole “camp starts” soon thing because the sense I’m getting is that there doesn’t seem to be the same sense of optimism that there usually is.
We’ll get far more into this as the next few weeks unfold and things get real but the impression that I’m feeling is this is very much a “show me” season rather than a “can’t wait for it to start” HOTH campaign.
Even last year, for some reason, fans seemed anxious to get things started because they thought it could have been a fun season.
Now it seems that some of that optimism has been beaten out of people through a handful of tough years and there have been no wild pronouncements coming from the Front Office And The Henchman to jazz everybody up.
Maybe that’s good?
Maybe not having any expectations and wiling to sit back and see what unfolds will make any failures easier to handle and any successes greater to appreciate. Maybe that’s the way it should be all the time, that we need to just sit back and see what unfolds and react accordingly. That would seem to make the most sense to me, especially with this group that’s still relatively new and building.
I’m sure that when they get back on the court – and I imagine more than a few will start filtering back into town any day to get settled – there will be some excitement because there always is but the feeling I’m getting now is that it will be tempered.
Am I right?
Not a big mail day and I need to get a head start, busy days ahead.
We’ve got Canada at 2 p.m. today, 5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday (hey, McLean’s Pub? You gotta get one of the TVs on the game for me Saturday, right?), all of which are on The Station Formerly Known As The Score plus a flight thrown in for good measure as I get back to actual work for a day or two.
Help a fella out? It’s email@example.com.
That hardly ever happens, doesn’t it?
There are those among us who think Decadent Chocolate Chip cookies are the best cookies maybe ever.
And when you stumble across Decadent Chocolate Chip cookie ice cream sandwiches, it’s like snack heaven!
Now, you can’t have five or six in a night – can you? – like you can sit and polish off, say, a bag of potato chips but those cookies around some ice cream?
Works for me.
And after discovering pizza-blast goldfish earlier this summer, the snack quotient has gone up exponentially around Casa Doug.