A few little things before a very busy couple of days unwind including a reading tip you don’t want to ignore.
There were a couple of significant Canadian basketball things that happened yesterday that are important for the present and the future of the game in these parts.
You know what I think the CEBL, right?
The Canadian league about to enter its second season with its rather laser focus on Canadian basketball talent and the promotion of it, its willingness to stay small and make things work rather than get to big and blow up too fast is great for the sport in smaller markets and for university kids and European pros looking to make a little money and improve their games and play at home for a few months each spring and summer.
Well, the folks there added a seventh team a few days ago – the Ottawa Blackjacks will provide pro basketball in an underserved market with a solid tradition in the game and the CEBL’s work with U Sports will surely mean there’ll be a tie in with both the Carleton Ravens and Ottawa Gee-Gees and I have no doubt the new team will be successful.
But the bigger news came yesterday, when the folks at the CBC who seem to understand where basketball is in the greater Canadian sports society these days, announced they’ll stream every game and also do seven – including the championship game – over the traditional television airwaves.
It’s a big deal and very good not only for the league to get more exposure but for the CBC to serve a market that’s only going to keep growing.
And knowing that the CBC did last weekend’s Vanier Cup football final, it’s only logical that we’ll eventually hear the network will expand its basketball reach even further with some kind of connection with the U Sports finals in Ottawa next spring. The men and women are together for the first time contesting their national championships and I’m not entirely sure how that’ll play but it will make for an interesting weekend in the nation’s capital.
The CEBL stuff is more immediate, though, and perhaps more important. I know it’s a good league with a solid plan to help the game – and eventually make some money, of course, and the CBC shot is a good one for them to get.
The other news item?
It is great that Jamal Murray committed publicly yesterday to playing for Canada in the Olympic qualifier in Victoria in June and it was nice to see this on the Magical Tweeter Machine through the night.
We know others from the NBA world – like Kelly Olynyk and Corey Joseph and Khem Birch – are already set to go and, you know, I’m still gonna stick with my deep-rooted sentiment and say, great, let’s see who’s here in June when the tournament starts two days after a potential Game 7 of the NBA Finals and right before free agency, the draft and the Summer League.
Today, though? Today this is outstanding news and I really hope it’s the same come June.
Speaking off, we’ll find out later this morning not only who will be in the men’s six-team tournament in Victoria but where the women – ranked No. 4 in the world – will go for their final qualification tournament in February.
Stay tuned, we’ll get what we can when we can.
We’re quite low on the mail for the weekend and I’m hoping you can rectify that over the next day or two.
And I think for my sanity and all the stuff I’ve got on my plate, I’ll be here tomorrow and Saturday with the usual morning-after-a-game stuff but I do think sleeping in a little bit on Friday morning and not getting up and typing immediately might be a good idea.
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Every year about this time, someone writes a lovely piece about the assassination of John F. Kennedy, which occurred on Nov. 22 in Dallas and those of us Of A Certain Vintage think back to the tragic, sad day.
And that always reminds me to read this, the legendary Jimmy Breslin writing in the New York Herald Tribune off Kennedy’s funeral.
It is, in my opinion, one of the best newspaper columns ever written for its scope, the initiative it took to come up with the idea and the execution.
It’s just wonderful, to tell you the truth and I’m not sure there’s anybody writing daily today who can pull this kind of thing off.
I know our craft is trouble and the industry’s swirling around the proverbial toilet bowl a bit too quickly in far too many places but, man, there was a time …
Read that, it’s pretty good and try to imagine anyone coming up with it today, when there’s too much screaming and too much pontificating and too much playing to the lowest common denominator and too many readers who want validation for what they think rather than brilliant journalism and finding the right story in the oddest of places.
So, you know my buddy Laura chips in with her inimitable skills to help out whenever she can and you know my pal Griff would do the same when he was with us.
Well, I don’t know what it is about baseball people lending a helping hand but Gregor announced his presence with this piece today.
Welcome. I can use the help, that’s for sure.