Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson share a bond that goes far deeper than that of teammates, as the 22 year-old men have been by each other’s side for much of their basketball lives. But there wasn’t a best friend for life proclamation when they first met. “I was wondering who this kid with the big Will Smith ears and the high arching shot that almost hit the ceiling was,” Thompson jokes.
Joseph offers a more detailed account. “It was a long time ago, he was playing for Brampton Blue Devils and I was playing for Scarborough Blues. I was looking at him like ‘Who’s this lanky kid moving kind of weird?’
“We were the best team in the OBA (Ontario Basketball Association) and I was like, ’We are going to bust them up.’ He actually put on a good show and gained my respect.”
“At the end we knew they were a team to look out for,” Joseph continues. “After that it was Scarborough and Brampton in the finals in every tournament. They had a great team and so did we, and Tristan and I built a relationship since then.”
The connection is well documented as the duo have played together at almost every level since AAU with Grassroots Canada, high school at Findlay Prep, and the NCAA at the University of Texas. After many successes, the pair took it one step further, becoming the country’s first two players to be taken in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft – the first Canadian duo since Leo Rautins and Stewart Granger did back in the 1983. Now, they’re “very excited” to be living out a childhood dream, playing on the Senior Men’s National Team together, as friends and teammates.