The Canadian Basketball Speakers Forum
Written by Jas Grewal
Monday, March 9th, 2015 was a historical day for Canadians as the inaugural Canadian Basketball Speakers Forum took place at the newly built Mattamy Athletic Center (Ryerson University).
The event was divided up into four different panels with Akil Augustine, Michael Grange and legendary ESPN broadcaster (and former Toronto Raptors play-by-play man) John Saunders moderating each individual session.
Much of the discussion was surrounded around the growth and development of basketball not just in Canada, but on a global scale, too. Globalization has been key to the game of hoops on many different fronts – particularly with the foreign influence (players), which has, unsurprisingly, been central to the NBA’s world-wide popularity.
The three hour session began with Leo Rautins, Mark Bayne, Ro Russell and Mike George discussing the slow but steady growth of basketball in Canada and how it’s evolved immensely over the past 25 years.
The second panel – with Gersson Rosas (Houston Rockets), Ed Tapscott (Washington Wizards), George Raveling (Nike Global) and Michelle O’Keefe (Canada Basketball) – looked to outline the growth of basketball on a global scale (as mentioned above) and the steps that need to be taken in order to ensure stability and even more growth for the near future.
The third session consisted of former Toronto Raptor’s GM and current Director of Athletics at McMaster University, Glen Grunwald, as well as Stu Jackson (former GM of the Vancouver Grizzlies) and Wayne Parrish (Canada Basketball). Similar to the initial topic of discussion where basketball in Canada was highlighted, this session also looked to analyze the evolution of hoops in Canada and, more importantly, what needs to be implemented into foundational programs to create sustenance and growth.
Lastly, the one-on-one with Masai Ujiri (Toronto Raptor’s GM) and John Saunders centered on a little bit of everything already discussed amongst the previous guests, as well as a candid overview of the Toronto Raptors and their promising future heading forward.
This year’s session didn’t disappoint, as expected.
Next year’s event should be even more eventful, and hopefully on a bigger scale.
Written by Jas Grewal
Edited and posted by Drew Ebanks