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As an event, it was the predictable dog and pony show, in the big room at The Club That Passes As A Sports bar with a house papered with MLSE employees scarfing down croissants and pastries and acting as the studio audience. Nothing wrong with that, actually, and totally in keeping with the organizational culture so we should have expected nothing different.
It’s for the kids
The shipped in a couple of busloads of Turkish school children to welcome Hedo to the squad way back in the day up in the practice court at the ACC. Still the best use of live props in franchise history; didn’t do much in the long-run basketball-wise but it was a colourful moment.
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A strange visitor
They’re bringing in Hakeem Olajuwon and, to borrow a phrase later in vogue, it’s a bloody big deal. Never mind that they forgot to ask him how he got along with the guy (Lenny Wilkens) who was going to coach him (not well) it was The Dream! They hold the event in the atrium right by the main entrance, the stage is set up with the back to the gate and who pops out from behind the curtain? Vince Carter, to the delight of the gathered people.
A prelude to a night
KO gets fired – it took some doing but he accomplished his task – and we’re all summoned to some tiny meeting room at a nearby hotel to hear his side of the story. The team set it up but you could tell this was an acrimonious split and it was just uncomfortable for everyone. Oh, and KO and some of his boys tying to start a ruckus at a saloon after “celebrating” his departure later that night just sealed it.
Got a dinner out of it!
Doug Christie comes back and it’s a big deal and they’ve got him and Isiah and his agent and, of course, Doug’s wife up on the stage. Question and answer session’s going on and a team executive sidles up to me and whispers: “Steak dinner one night on the road if you ask Jacqui a question.” Of course, I did.
Fish out of water
This is not to disparage the dead or even the living but trotting out a sweaty Mayor Ford and an entirely lost provincial cabinet minister to sit with The Global Ambassador, Adam Silver and Tim Leiweke and announce that the all-star game was the oddest coupling of people on one dias in franchise history.
Brown shoes at a black tie affair.
Sometimes the best laid and most anticipated plans change so this afternoon’s more open now than I thought it would be. And since I can’t handle too many straight hours of figuring out day-to-day Rio schedules (yeah, that’s as fun as it sounds) there could be stool time to start on the mail.
Catching up time:
While we’ve been occupied with other stuff, the Canadian junior women’s basketball team is a couple of wins into its run through the FIBA Americas tournament in Chile that serves as a qualifier for next summer’s world championships.
It’s a sign, I guess, of how far Canada Basketball has come, especially at the age-group level that we expect them to be wildly successful in the Americas and have a chance to make some noise on the world stage.
That speaks to the depth of teenage talent and coaching that’s in place and to how Canada Basketball officials have realized how invaluable having kids used to the global aspect of the game really is. There have been untold resources devoted to the Under-19s and Under-17s and it’s vital for the long term sustainability of the bigger program.
No, it’s not wrong at all.
Great courses, a chance to hear Brits do TV commentary, a different game than we’re used to, pot bunkers, gorse, weather, morning TV viewing, some guys you’ve never heard of in contention. It’s got it all.
Lovely course, the signal that perhaps spring is arriving, it’s great if you can get past the over-the-top sickeningly syrupy TV work. Yeah, magnolias are pretty and there’s plenty of tradition but, my goodness, they need to dial back the reverence about 10 notches.
The US Open