That was some historic 10 days or so for the group of kids and coaches that won the first Olympic or world championship basketball gold medal in Canadian history on Sunday and they cannot be lauded enough for the accomplishment.
There was no money, there was no profile, there was more infighting between different factions I remember saying that I didn’t think the job of turning it around could be done but if anyone could possibly make it work, it’d be Parrish.
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It took coaxing people of different interests into working together for the first time ever, it meant running things on a shamefully small budget while trying to get out from under a mountain of debt, it involved finding people with the best interests of the athletes and the game to put aside egos to work for a common goal.
And what we’ve seen is, frankly, an unimaginable transformation. The gold medal for the Under-19 men was a stunning achievement in the moment, without question. It’s hard to imagine a 17-year-old like RJ Barrett playing with such composure on the way to MVP honours; it’s hard to explain what a good job Roy Rana has done coaching kids in a hurry and getting them to be so good. It really was something else.
And a great day for an organization that’s fought near impossible odds over the last decade. Even a thing like convincing TSN to put the game on live – and that was a wise and top notch decision for which the network should get much credit – was a giant step.
The financial picture, I’m told, is far from rosy and we’ve said this dozens of times before and I can’t understand why we’re still saying it:
If a company wants to get in at close to the ground floor on a growing organization that’s globally relevant, highly successful and run frugally with attention paid mostly to development of the game at all levels, why they can’t attract another Sugar Daddy or three is befuddling.
Other than that, yawns.
Poeltl: 12 points, 10 rebounds Friday; a 15-10 double-double Saturday.
VanVleet: 18 points, nine assists Friday; 18 and 5 on Saturday.
But think of it this way:
Siakam started nearly half a season for an NBA team that won 51 games; Poeltl is a lottery pick who got substantial playing time in his rookie season; VanVleet played a bit and practiced a lot for the Raptors and led the D-League team to a dominant season that ended with a championship in a league a lot of the players in the Summer League didn’t, or couldn’t, make.
They should be the best players on the court more often than not and if they weren’t, that would be more troubling than the fact that they are is reason for optimism.
Just, as the kids say, throwing a bit of shade.
(That is what they mean when they say that, right?)
I think it’s hugely civilized that Wimbledon shuts down for the middle Sunday of the fortnight to give everyone a breather.
The athletes do get breaks – it’s not like they’re playing every day at any time in the tournament under normal circumstances or anything like that – but I’ve covered more than a few things that run constantly for a two or even three week periods and a day of rest sometime in the middle would have been quite welcome.
News got out sometime last night that they’ll waive Justin Hamilton – using the stretch provision to mitigate the cap hit under those convoluted rules – so no need to worry about another centre who wouldn’t play.
And for the few of you who asked, they were able to do Carroll for Hamilton despite the discrepancy in salaries because Brooklyn will have enough room under the cap to assume Carroll’s deal. It’s only on trades between teams over the cap that the salaries going and coming have to basically match.
Yeah, not going to happen, is it?