Trend Watch: Basketball is now more popular than hockey

Trend Watch: Basketball is now more popular than hockey

Sayonara, Don Cherry. Toronto’s sports allegiance is quickly changing

Trend Watch: The Golden Age of Basketball

One hundred and twenty-two years ago, a Canadian gym teacher with an unruly classroom grabbed two peach baskets and a soccer ball, and invented a game he called Basket Ball. Now, finally, the sport is coming home. According to a recent study, more kids in this country play basketball than hockey. The causes are varied—astronomical prices for hockey gear and waves of immigrants from hoops-mad countries, for a start—but the result is clear: a crop of insanely talented ballers, the majority of them with GTA roots, not so quietly infiltrating the sport’s upper echelons. Here are the four big names leading the charge.

The Leader
The Golden Age of Basketball: Tristan Thompson (Image: Getty Images)
 

WHO: Tristan Thompson, six foot nine forward, Cleveland Cavaliers.
GTA CRED: Raised in Brampton. He cheered on the Raptors with his dad from the $10 Sprite Zone as
a kid.
SELECTED: Fourth overall in the 2011 NBA draft.
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Second in the NBA in total offensive rebounds last year.

the underdog
The Golden Age of Basketball: Corey Joseph (Image: Getty Images)
 

WHO: Cory Joseph, six foot three guard, San Antonio Spurs.
GTA CRED: Led Pickering High School to back-to-back provincial championships.
SELECTED: Twenty-ninth overall in the 2011 NBA draft.
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Defensive standout and backup point guard in the 2013 NBA Finals.

the future
The Golden Age of Basketball: Andrew Wiggins (Image: Mike Yoder)
 

WHO: Andrew Wiggins, six foot eight guard, University of Kansas Jayhawks.
GTA CRED: Born and raised in Thornhill. Said recently he wants to play for the ­Raptors.
SELECTED: Widely expected to go first overall in the 2014 NBA draft.
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Named the 2013 Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year, the same award won by LeBron James.

the top pick
The Golden Age of Basketball: Anthony Bennett (Image: Getty Images)
 

WHO: Anthony Bennett, six foot eight forward, Cleveland Cavaliers.
GTA CRED: Played basketball at the Boys and Girls Club at Jane and Finch.
SELECTED: First overall in the 2013 NBA draft.
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Averaged 16 points and eight rebounds per game at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.