The television ratings are boffo, there are reports that single tickets are selling for $100-thousand apiece and Jurassic Parks are springing up across the country and elsewhere–putting to rest any doubts that professional basketball is the game of choice in Canada right now.
As we told you last week, it’s been a long time–26 years–since any Canadian team has won a championship in any of North America’s major spectator sports.
The Toronto Raptors are trying to do something about at the moment as they their first appearance in the National Basketball Association Finals
The team they are playing, the Golden State Warriors, are the defending champs and this marks their fifth straight appearance in the Finals. (They have won three of the past four.)
Game Three is Wednesday night in Oakland, Cal.
Their run–to understate–has enthralled Canadians across the country.
The newly-enthralled can join the crowd that has watched the game grow over the past 30 years, especially in the Toronto region, which is filled with hot-shot young players whose eyes are set on the NBA.
There has even been some talk that it’s just a matter of time before basketball overtakes hockey as Canada’s favourite winter sport.
That, it must be pointed out, remains to be seen and let’s see what happens when (and if) a Toronto or Montreal NHL team makes in to a Stanley Cup Final.
For some perspective on where all this is headed, I spoke with Mike Hickey.
Hickey has been around the game since he was a kid on Long Island and around it in Canada since he first came to Montreal in 1971 to play at Sir George Williams University, a team he later coached with elan.
He also serves as a guest coach at basketball camps and clinics across the United States and in his spare time is both an author and a journalist.Listen