Frozen Hoops: Canadian Basketball

Randon rambling thoughts

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Friday Sept 10, 2004: A rap on the Raptors. Nothing against new coach Sam Mitchell but why oh why didn't Toronto put the collar on Rudy Tomjanovich. Rudy T was a winning coach while with Houston - a .559 winning percentage (503-397) - and was a unselfish all-star when he played with the Rockets.

Thursday Sept 9, 2004: Busy Busy. Checked the ABA website and disappointed that few teams have merchandise up for sale yet? Hoop collectors like to buy t-shirts from semi-pro leagues as odds are they become rare items when teams fold. Calgary Drillers website is not up yet but at least they have a name and site tag while Vancouver is still in the dark. Fresno seems like a pro organization. Albequerque will be a all native team but hear on the grapevine that few First Nations people are trying out?

Saturday August 28, 2004: Time for the USA to drop the "Dream Team" moniker. Even if they had sported a team of Carter, Shaq, Kobe, Kidd, McGrady, Garnett, Wallace and whom ever, it would have not been a shoe-in to the Gold. And also I say garbage to all the website chats stating that the USA should have sent a all white team to play so they matched the style of "international ball". Plain and simple basketball is a team game no matter your colour. Play as a team and victory is at hand.

Friday August 27, 2004: Fisrt off it is "total garbage" with all of these USA announcers stating that the other hoop teams in the Olympics practice all year long as a "team". Majority of these players, in fact near all, also play pro hoops first and the national team second. Majority of their court time is spent playing for their pro team. Ming (Houston), Gasol (Memphis), Ginobili (San Antonio) are cases in point. Add on Scola and Jasikevicius and you have the real "Dream Team".

Wednesday August 25, 2004: I'm back.... Was gone all summer to Legion Athletic Camp ( in my administration role. Stay tuned as I pick apart the so-called Dream Team at the Olympics. It was 10 years ago that I wrote in print that if you took any international powerhouse and placed them in the NBA they would win the title. The NBA is hype city and now people are finding out that it is a small world and a big ball.


Monday July 5, 2004: The American Basketball Association adds two more franchises to it's league. What is that...24 or 32 new franchises this past summer. I think I’m going to pack my bags and head down to Grand Forks, North Dakota. Announce that we are going to have an ABA franchise there and also one in Fargo, North Dakota. Great rivalry for the future. The media will eat it up and free media means free advertising. Will tell them venue and schedule are soon to come. Have relatives in Grand Forks and friends in Fargo, so I will stay with them. Will tell the media that we want a "homegrown team" with plenty of locals and we will hold three try-outs in Grand Forks and another three in Fargo. The standard rate for try-outs, across the ABA board, is $150 per player, per try-out. Gotta cover costs ya know. Get the gym free from the high school after some sweet talk. Bring a video camera to tape players. Get a set of jerseys made up. Players can buy them for $30 each as a keepsake. For the six try-outs we average 54 players. Not bad. A lot of hicks and wannabees with the odd blue chipper. Let’s see an average of 54 players at $150 a pop six times is? Wow….$48,600! And we made $2,000 on the jersey markup…so we now have $50,000. Take off $1,000 for travel and living expenses and another $1,000 for incidentals. We now have $48,000 in the bank. Time to head back to Alberta. Oh yeah…..tell the media and frezied fans and players with pro dreams that we have postponed the Grand Forks and Fargo teams but will be back again next fall. Practise up and save your $150.

Friday July 2, 2004: While the Ontario Professional Basketball League starts to sink the American Basketball Association starts to rise. Both Calgary and Vancouver have joined the 34 team league of which 27 teams are expansion! Too fast too soon? Will be interesting to see how many franchises actually make it to tip-off in November. Vancouver could not make a go of it with the Grizzlies or Nighthawks and from what I understand will have a predominatly Chinese makeup to the team. Calgary lost out with the Outlaws and 88s' but always drew well at the gate. Mention of Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal have also been dribbled about. The one expansion team that impresses is the New Jersey Jaguars. Check out their website at 



Monday June 28, 2004: Larry Bird controversy? Bird is under fire for saying the NBA needs more white players due to the fact that the fans are mainly white. He also stated that it was an insult when another team had a white player covering him. Magic Johnson also stated that the NBA needes some more Larry Bird types? So what would the NBA do with a white superstar? Probably nothing. Their market is white kids who want to buy dreams. So they sell 6-foot-10 black superstars. Something the white kids will never be. Case in point. John Stockton was one of the greatest NBA guards of all time yet think back and how many commercials were John Stockton in? A kid in Italy looks at John Stockton and sees a 6-foot-1 white guy dribbling a ball. "I can do that" he says no big deal. Then he looks at a behemouth like Shaq or Kevin Garnett slaming and says "Wow...I want to be like that." More white superstars will not help the NBA in marketing but maybe in filling the seats. 


Saturday June 26, 2004: It appears that the Ontario Professional Basketball League is caught in some quicksand. This weekends games and all future games have been cancelled until further notice. Once again money appears to be the problem? Questions I would have to ask? Did the OPBL make usage of free media and also advertise. Did they approach the various local media outlets in person - not once but many times - to convince them to attend the games. If not at first and each and every time,  did they at least send in their own stories and photographs for the games. Sooner or later the info would get in when there was need for a story or space to fill. Ask not what the media may do for you but what you may do for the media. Did they make usage of local television? By that I do not mean private stations but community cable stations? The games would be televised at minimal cost and audiences would see the product. The big seller for any minor pro league is merchandise. Yet their web site never did have items for sale on the merchandise link. You can have a great product on the floor but you have to let people know. That  was NBA Commissioner David Sterns very first move when he entered the NBA and the same with Gary Bettman in the NHL. Both hired marketing and media personnel and slowly the seats starting filling up.

Thursday June 24, 2004: Absolutely no athletic ability whatsoever. Moves like a sloth and has horrible conditioning. Can't even run up and down the court once without getting winded. Only averaged 10 minutes a game in high school because of his pitiful stamina. Horrible quickness and agility, even for his size. Lacks any kind of explosiveness and has a 10 inch vertical at best. Thats the downside of Canadian Jerry Sokoloski as stated at NBA Draft. Com. Strengths: Monstrous size. A legitimate 7'5" with an enormous frame. He is a shot blocking threat because of his size. Will he ever make the NBA? Doubt it. How about Continental Basketball Association or some big show team in Europe? Doubt that to. So, where will Jerry end up? Maybe part of the Canadian Half Pints traveling show? What do you think?

Wednesday June 23, 2004: The Toronto Raptors need to head back in the basketball time tunnel to November 1, 1946. On this date the Toronto Huskies hosted the New York Knickerbockers in the opening game of the Basketball Association of America.
On the Huskies roster were two Canadian hoopsters Hank Biassti and Gino Sovran.
Now nearly 60 years later it is deemed that players, namely Americans, do not want to come play here.
Solution? Simple. Forget about the Americans.
Trade away Vince Carter in a three-way deal that will bring you Canadian NBA All-Stars Steve Nash (Dallas Mavericks) and Jamaal Magloire (New Orleans Hornets).
You now have one of the best point guards and up and coming centres in the league. Plus both know the words to O Canada.
Then make some trades to secure Rick Fox (Los Angeles Lakers) and Samuel Dalembert (Philadpehia 76ers), both with Canadian ties. Thats four of your starting five. Round it out by brining Newfoundlands Carl English from the NBDL.
Come draft day make sure you haul in 7-foot-1 Ivan Chiriaev from St. Thomas Aquinas in Oakville, Ontario via Russia.

Monday June 21, 2004: Surprised that there are only five players topping 7-feet in the 98 players profiled in the upcoming NBA Draft at Look to 7-foot-5 Russian Pavel Podkolzine to be the first tree to be picked. Simply said you can't teach height.

Sunday June 20, 2004: Aside from the bevy of USA players profiled for the upcoming NBA Draft, a total of 24 other countries were mentioned. Not Canada! Hello. Since when were Denmark, Israel, Latvia and Mexico the hotbeds of hoops? Surprised that Serbia & Montenegro only had two prospects listed. The other countries with two players getting the nod were Brazil, Germany, Italy, Slovenia and the Ukraine.In total 30 international players are profiled compared to 68 Americans.

Saturday June 12 - Friday June 18, 2004: Aghhhhh. Site was down and could not edit so had to build site from scratch. The omen was the Lakers losing the NBA final? Wish I knew as much about computers as I do the LA Lakers for then the layout on this site would be much better.

Friday June 11, 2004: Did a web search of Henry Bekkering, the 6-foot-6 dunking machine from Southern Alberta who was a red shirt from Eastern Washington this year. A good friend of mine, John Randa a B.C. hoops legend, is EW's all time rebounder and at 6-foot-8 probably had a 10-inch vertical at the best. He did his game on hustle. Now Bekkering is a growing legend thanks in part to a video on the web showcasing his dunks. Yet he has yet to score a single point in the NCAA? Amazing. A lot of young players south of the border are now relating the name Bekkering instead of Nash to Canada. But the sad thing is the number of white supremacy web sites that praise his - Bekkering - game simply because he is white and can fly? I realize Henry has no control over this but it is a ludicrous pedestal to place him on.. Right now he is in the same status as Carl English.

Thursday June 10, 2004: I am very humbled to have been contacted by basketball historians like Garo (see Sunday June 6) and now John Grasso. John is one of the deans of basketball historical referance and a walking encyclopedia on the game. Just to pick their brains for knowledge is worth the time in creating this site. And what is up with the Lakers?

Wednesday June 9, 2004: NBA Hoop it Up is hitting full stride right now across Canada. In the early days , 1990s', of the event it was quickly learned to never judge a book by its cover. Three games that we participated in come to mind. The first was a semi-final match for Division II action. We were pitted against a team of ex national volleyball team members. Here we learned that boxing out meant nothing if the guy you were matched against had a 40-inch vertical. We lost by 2. Another game was against ex university football players. Here boxing out meant boxing ala Muhammad Ali or Mike Tyson lights out. But the best game to recall was against a group of Native Americans from a reserve in Montana. Man could they pass and shoot the lights out. Three-on-three is still a game dominated by wiser, older sometimes heavier and slower players. A game of experience. My Hoop it Up days are over although the 3-point shoot out is always at the door as you can stand and shoot until you are well into your 80s.HIU2004.jpg (25268 bytes)

Tuesday June 8, 2004: While watching the postgame Stanley Cup party after Canada's team - the Calgary Flames - went down in defeat to the Tampa Bay Lightning,... I thought to myself, "Will Canada ever adopt the Toronto Raptors as their nationwide team?" The answer is No. Why? Basketball is too flamboyant a sport with too much inner-city folklore to have the average Canuck relate to it. The hoop athletes appear arrogant in comparison to your Average Joe hockey player. In the 1970s' basketball had the drug image full of thugs and then David Stern came along and cleaned up the image. Now the image of rap hoopsters has turned and arrogant millionaires send middle age viewers, at least north of the 49th parallel switching channels. It is a sport of youth, appealing to teens revolting. Still, I love the game, but give me a Alex English, Bobby Jones, Dr. J. or John Havlicek any day of the week over a Allen Iverson, Ron Artest or Rasheed Wallace.

 Monday June 7, 2004: How could my beloved Los Angeles Lakers have lost last night to the Detroit Pistons? Heck, I have a Lakers tattoo on my right shoulder and a basketball with No. 13 (in honour of Wilt Chamberlain) on my left! The Lakers have a strong tradition with Canadian hoopsters. Centre Mike Smrek was part of a LA Lakers championship run in the mid 1980s' and now Rick Fox has won a couple of rings for his fingers. And the Lakers were once own by Canuck money magnate Jack Kent Cooke. Look for the Lakers to win in six!

Cooke With Mike Nelms Jack Kent Cooke

Sunday June 6, 2004: Fans of basketball around the world are in debt to Garo Salibian. Garo, who now resides in Montreal, is the Wilt Chamberlain for the promotion of the sport of basketball - via the WWW. He is the founder and mastermind behind the most comprehensive listing of international basketball leagues/teams and basketball potpourri on the web. Check out, which are easily the best sites for Basketball Jones anywhere out there. Garo, although I have never met the man and only recently corresponded with him, is without a doubt one of the Canada's ambassadors in his promotion and devotion.

. Garo Salibian   

howardkelsey.jpg Howard Kelsey played big time Division III

lars10.jpg Lars Hansen played in the show with Seattle

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