Can Basketball Canada general manager Steve Nash, right, and head coach Jay Triano lead the Canadian national team to greater glory by qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics? Nash has short black hair and is speaking into a microphone with great intensity. Triano sits quietly to his left, listening. He is a bald man, older than Nash, who is 40. Each is wearing a Team Canada white polo shirt.

Can Basketball Canada general manager Steve Nash, right, and head coach Jay Triano lead the Canadian national team to greater glory by qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics?
Photo Credit: Canadian Press / Frank Gunn

Canadian basketball growing by leaps and (re)bounds


Canada as a world-class basketball power? Basketball, the game they play in sneakers and not hockey skates?

Hold that yuk! Stifle that guffaw!

“Basketball? Isn’t that the game Steve Nash plays? He’s the only Canadian basketball player I’ve ever heard of.”

 Canadian Andrew Wiggins of Cleveland dunks against Milwaukee in an NBA summer league basketball earlier this month. Wiggins was the NBA's top draft choice this spring. He wearing a red unform and is well over the basket, dunking the ball with his right hand. The ball has just passed the top of the rim. A helpless Milwaukee player in white is to Wiggins's left but well below him. A crowd of spectators about 20 rows high watches in the background.
Canadian Andrew Wiggins of Cleveland dunks against Milwaukee in an NBA summer league basketball earlier this month. Wiggins was the NBA’s top draft choice this spring. © AP Photo/John Locher

Fact is, in the not too distant future, Canada could seriously flex its basketball muscles.. Maybe in time for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. If not, likely–if all goes well–by the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

Remember, it was a Canadian, Dr. James Naismith, who invented the game in the first place, albeit at Springfield College in Massachusetts.

Ponder these facts:

*The last two top draft choices in the National Basketball Association, Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins, are Canadians.

*Of the first 18 players chosen in this year’s NBA draft, three are Canadians.

*Canada could have as many as a dozen players in the NBA this season, trailing only the U.S. (though to be sure by a wide margin) in the number of players.

* Las Vegas has made superstar LeBron James’s Cleveland Cavaliers the favourites to win the NBA title this season. At this point, four of James’s teammates are Canadians: Bennett, Wiggins, Tristan Thompson and Dwight Powell.

All come out of Toronto, where young people take the game very seriously. They are also very good.

Couple the cost of hockey equipment and changing demographics and you’ve got the makings of something special.

Canadian Anthony Bennett, right, grabs a rebound ahead of Indiana's Luis Scola, of Argentina, during an NBA basketball game between Cleveland and Indiana in January. Bennett was the NBA's top draft choice in 2013. Bennett is wearing a mainly yellow jersey with red trim and the number 15 on his uniform. He is tapping the basketball with his right hand stretched to his right at about head level.  Scola in dark blue is to Bennett's left and boxed out by Bennett's big body.
Canadian Anthony Bennett, right, grabs a rebound ahead of Indiana’s Luis Scola, of Argentina, during an NBA basketball game between Cleveland and Indiana in January. Bennett was the NBA’s top draft choice in 2013. © AP Photo/Tony Dejak

There are plenty of people working toward it, including Nash, the national team’s general manager and a two-time NBA MVP, and former Toronto Raptors coach and long-time national team star Jay Triano.

On Tuesday, the national team wrapped up a three-day training camp in Toronto. On Thursday, the team departs for Europe for a series of 11 exhibition games in Europe. The trip aims to toughen up the team for the FIBA Americas tournament in August, 2015, a qualifying stepping stone to the Rio Olympics

It also comes tour comes after the Canadians failed to qualify for this summer’s FIBA World Cup in Spain.

Whether Nash and Triano can can whip up an Olympic calibre team in time for Rio remains unknown. Sceptics brand it unlikely. Supporters say it’s a definite possibility. One thing is certain. It’s a mug’s game to bet against anything Steve Nash sets out to do.

Is Canada on the cusp of basketball greatness?

Wayne Parrish is the president and CEO of Basketball Canada. He spoke by phone with RCI’s Terry Haig about the glowing present of Canadian basketball, the reasons for it, and what he hopes the future will hold.

Posted in Health, International, Society

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1.’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3.’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.