Trend Watch: Basketball is now more popular than hockey
Sayonara, Don Cherry. Toronto’s sports allegiance is quickly changing
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.
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
SELECTED: Fourth overall in the 2011 NBA draft.
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Second in the NBA in total offensive rebounds last year.
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.
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.
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.