Today is July 1st – otherwise known as Canada Day to our brothers and sisters to the North. North America’s largest country has been getting quite a lot of attention in the sports world over the last few years. Most recently, the Toronto Raptors became the first Canadian team in NBA history to win the NBA title. Here is a look at Canadian influence in pro sports.
Happy Canada Day!
Drake, the Raptors and Canadian Basketball
Aubrey Drake Graham is arguably the most famous person in the entire country. I mean, he is probably the most popular person in the rap industry right now. He also happens to be a huge sports fan. Such a big sports fan that he developed his own curse in reference to his wide range of rooting interests.
With that being said, Drake has always put on for his hometown Raptors. In fact, he is actually an official ambassador for the team, so you could say he is part of the organization. He does sit courtside at nearly every home game and was a big part of their title run this postseason… at least in the headlines.
Speaking of those Raptors, it was quite an amazing year overall. They went from firing NBA Coach of the Year Dwane Casey and trading franchise player DeMar DeRozan to winning the NBA Championship and having a chance to land Kawhi Leonard long-term.
The parade was a sight to behold. There was an estimated 2.5 million people that attended, and it was truly a magical time for the city of Toronto and the nation of Canada.
The state of basketball is at its peak in Canada. As covered, their lone NBA team won the title. In addition, Canada native R.J. Barrett was drafted third overall in the 2019 NBA Draft. Of course, a little over a decage ago, Barrett’s godfather was the best player in the NBA. Fellow Canadian Steve Nash is a 2-time NBA MVP.
Other Canadians in the NBA include:
- Brandon Clarke – No. 21 Pick in 2019 NBA Draft (MEM)
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – 2018-19 All-Rookie 2nd Team (LAC)
- Jamal Murray – 2016-17 All-Rookie 2nd Team (DEN)
- Tristan Thompson – 2016 NBA Champion (CLE)
- Andrew Wiggins – 2014-15 NBA Rookie of the Year (MIN)
- Cory Joseph – 2011-Present (IND)
- Kelly Olynyk – 2013-Present (DAL)
- Nik Stauskas – 2014-Present (POR)
- Dwight Powell – 2014-Present (DAL)
- Trey Lyles – 2015-Present (DEN)
Click to Page 2 to read about how Canada is still a hockey nation.