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Courtside Column – Toronto Rapture



Oh Canada.

In mid February of 2016 it’ll be almost 10 years since this love story began. Almost a decade since I started my lifes dream and rewoke a Basketball one by taking a years working visa to Canada and laying my sports cap in the great city of Toronto. 10 years since this man who has loved Basketball since he was 10, got to see his first, live Basketball game….well around 15 impulse buys of them to be exact (and that was just in the T-Dot, I took a spur of the moment trip to L.A. during that time too). A kid who previously only got to watch the odd late night T.V. show or pixilated internet video to get close to the game he loved more than his England countries national treasure of football. A kid who grew up playing with and collecting Dinosaur models, albeit with chewed tails, while having ‘Jurrasic Park’ as his favourite movie and mountie police series ‘Due South’ as his favourite show was obviously going to be attracted to the Toronto Raptors and the country of Canada. Besides it was almost a Tom Cruise mission to get to live and see all the other NBA teams in neighbouring America.

Still, Canada and it’s capital city was the place for me. Unfortunatly after coming home for Christmas with every intention to come back, one thing lead to another and my year and life in Canada didn’t happen. This was a regret until I realised there was a bigger plan for me and a better life than I could have ever imagined in the love of my life at home years later. A girl who I coincidentally met for the first time just a few months shy of my departure and now today I want to share the rest of my life with, especially a trip back to my second home one day. The best thing to ever happen to me who in the same month this year as I left in ’06 is about to embark on a travelling trip and amazing adventure of her own. I couldn’t be happier for her and I wish and hope she has a trip 10 times as good as mine. If it was even half as good as mine it would be the best one ever. I stayed close to my old friend Canada and Basketball by writing. It was something I always wanted to do and I started writing reports of games while in the T-Dot, for myself, sought of like a guys diary. I picked up the pen once gain in the U.K. when I realised the way I could stay close to the game and country I loved but couldn’t see was by the art of he creative word.

When you create work yourself thats when oppurtunites happen. Just ask the Marvel that is Clark Gregg’s Agent Caulson and the ‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D’ Avenger series. Opportunities have happened for me via writing from everything and everyone from SLAM magazine to music/movie star Tyrese Gibson and Australian music site Music Feeds and Bleacher Report. I am eternally grateful for everything everyone has done for me and anyone who has taken the time to read just one of my articles. That was no plug though…this is. The one company that has stayed loyal to me over the years is the Canadian site Basketball Buzz and the great help of his founder Edilson Silva. What started as a couple of people and laptops is now growing before your eyes and some big announcements that I can’t say but you will know soon. I appreciate everything the site has done for my progression as a writer and even before all that it has just served as a beautiful, wonderful way to stay connected to Canada. It doesn’t matter how far away I am, the place will always have a space in my heart and the beat writing for the country helps keep that running strong.

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I even had the opportunity to meet another great writer and now great friend in Quett Walker, who is now part of the Buzz team and is worthy of the hype as the next great writer. He may not believe it yet, but you and him will see he really is. He makes me step it up and is the only guy I read regulary that’s not named Scoop Jackson (my writing mentor) and the late, legend and greatest to ever write it Jim Murray. I met Q in strange circumstances in his home city of London when he sold me an exhibition ticket to watch my beloved Lakers (hey, no one’s perfect) but we connected and stayed in touch by our love for Basketball (he’s a Rockets fan and is letting me hear it about Dwight Howard) and the fact that he too knows what it’s like to live and love Toronto. The guy misses the city like me, but through his writing the country will never have to miss out on what he has to offer…and that’s as factual as his deep and meaningful, introspective and inspired pieces of journalism.

It’s a funny old world isn’t it? So maybe, just maybe 10 years later all of these wonderful twists and turns of live will head down the epic road that leads to the view of the classic CN tower (oh yeah, I saw it in the background of ‘Due South’…I thought that show was set in Chicago? WInk, Wink!). I so want to see that view once again, it’s been way, way too long. But I can wait. Maybe if me and my girlfriend venture out to the cold of Canada around valentines but for a different reason we’ll meet up with the two friends that have kept me connected to this city and my Basketball writing. Maybe it will be meant to be and perfectly fitting that we take in a special game together to mark the occassion. Still, yesterdays good news for Toronto and Canada is bigger than me. It’s not about me. It’s bigger than all that but still special to me. It’s even bigger than the New York Knicks/Nets, battle co-hosting next February. Even bigger than my plan to finally see Tokyo in 2020 for the Olympic games. This is how much it means.

Bigger than the what could have been with country cousins Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady (what a team and legacy they could have made). Bigger than Air Canada or those arena shaking no contest dunks. Bigger than what could have been with the Chris Bosh, Phoenix Suns like great team that showed they where no purple Barney dinosaurs (featuring Calderon, Parker, Ford and Jorge the garbage man amongst others) that went so far but so near in the year I went to town in 2006 and could have been better than Vince’s time. Decisions, decisions hey?! Bigger than the smile of the friendly ticket tout who saw me approaching each game. Or almost as big as the heart of my good friend Dan Koufis who worked in the Toronto Raptors gift shop during my stay and was great to me (I miss you good buddy). Bigger than Toronto’s underground hoops hot-bead that proves it’s never too frozen-over cold to lace them up. Bigger than the fact that the Raptors are the only surving NBA team outside of America, now that the Vancouver Grizzlies are extinct and reborn in Memphis. Right now the biggest thing happening for Toronto 10 years later in 2016 is that they will hold and host the NBA All-Star game. No matter what’s been said or happened. I guess some things are meant to be and stay in Toronto. TIM DAVID HARVEY.


Xavier Rathan-Mayes inks 10-Day Contract with Memphis Grizzlies



Xavier Rathan Mayes Inks 10 Day Contract Memphis Grizzlies

Xavier Rathan-Mayes (Scarborough, ON) will be joining the Memphis Grizzlies on a 10-day contract. A well deserved opportunity for the 23-year-old, 6’4″, 208 lbs guard who has been tearing-up the NBA G-League. Mayes started 37-0f-39 games of the Westchester Knicks leading them to 27 W-14 L record while averaging 16.6 points per game, 7.2 assists and 6 rebounds. Including a career-high of 34 points versus the 87ers .

With the signing of Mayes, a former Florida State Seminoles standout will join fellow and current Memphis Grizzlies rookie Dillon Brooks forming yet another Canadian duo in the NBA. Currently, the Denver Nuggets have the best Canadian tag team duo with Jamal Murray and Trey Lyles both playing a key role in the Nuggets recent success.

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Miami Heat Icon Dwyane Wade Dedicates Season To Parkland Victim Laid To Rest In His Jersey



Wade Dwyane 640x360
For Joaquin...

Just weeks ago Joaquin Oliver was laughing and joking with his friends like any other teenager. A lover of music, sports, the Miami Heat and Dwyane Wade. The Florida franchises Flash legend and returning hero via a Cavalier trade from King James’ land. Making for an even bigger homecoming than the Chicago born D-Wade’s ride in the Bull-pen last season. And it wasn’t just the talents of South Beach that where nostalgically excited, but the entire Sunshine State as a whole. Especially one of Dwyane’s biggest fans, a handsome young man with so much heart known to his friends as ‘Joaq’.

But on Valentines Day, 17 year old Joaquin Oliver with his whole life to live and love ahead of him was one of the 17 victims who tragically lost their lives in the Parkland school shooting.

He was just a kid.

Oliver was buried in one of his most prized possessions, his number 3, Dwyane Wade Heat jersey. Upon learning this an emotional Dwyane Wade dedicated the rest of his returning season-which may even be the Hall of Fame ready legends retiring one-to Joaquin. And with a tribute testament to Oliver, Wade wrote his name on his sneakers took to the floor and hit 15 of the Heat’s last 17 (and his 27) and an epic, emotional game winner against the Sixers that was a classic, “this is my house” Flash-back.

The final score read 102-101 to the home team off Ocean Drive. But what truly mattered was what was wrote to see on the cleats of Dwyane’s feet. This tragic time is so much bigger than basketball. But whatever escape, solace and stand of solidarity sports and those who make it more can offer in comfort to families and friends in their time of mourning has real importance. Even albeit for a brief, but fleeting cathartic respite.

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“This is why we can’t just shut up and dribble”, Wade tweeted with a picture of Oliver, echoing the words of twice teammate and former Miami Heat leader LeBron James who responded to those critical of the athletes outspoken social stance. Wade has made big moves that matter with James before. And we aren’t talking about the big-three. Remember the ESPY’s? Echo those words. And sometimes even from the biggest stars in the world that seem a million miles away from our hurt it’s the little things that matter. Like in years past Chris Paul scoring 61 in honour of his grandpa who passed away at that age. Or a heartbroken Allen Iverson paying for the funeral of a young man shot over his jersey. Whatever we can do to help-no matter how small-is surely better than simply doing nothing.

Ignorance will get us all nowhere. Inspiration will though.

For Joaquin and everyone who lost their lives to the guns we must control and put down for good.

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Does The Lakers Future Belong To A Kid Named Bryant?



Who? Me?!

The future of the second most storied franchise in NBA history is right now.

And it has little to do with the Los Angeles Lakers deadline trading for former Boston boy Isaiah Thomas from the Cavs. Although that may be the first Magic chess move that checkmate takes future(?) Hollywood King LeBron James from Cleveland to Lakerland.

But it has everything to do with that slow grind the young Lake Show and future Showtime have been putting in for just under a half decade worked. Ever since the injured Kobe stoppers hit the lottery they’ve chose the right numbers. Top tens or second round knockouts. Outside of maybe Philly only open doors have had better drafts than the Lakers over the last few years. First came Draymond Green like big-man Julius Randle and then Sixth Man steal Jordan Clarkson late in the game. And then the trend just snowballed like millennials that totally use words like “stoked” on the slopes of Pyeongchang.

A year later came the ice from the veins of D’Angelo Russell and the scorching slams of Sun son Larry Nance Jr. Then last season the biggest Durant like chance of a franchise face in Brandon Ingram and an even more pleasant surprise in talented big Ivica Zubac. But this campaign the team that has drafted tremendous talent like Noah’s arc has gone forth from their two-by-two nature over the last big-three years. Even if fans of this young core are steaming that the Lakers just let integral parts like Nance and Clarkson walk like Russell. Glue guys of this smartphone generation that highlight worthy fans wanted to stick around like screen burn. Even if they did get I.T. in return and even the cleared cap that may make space for the real ‘IT’ to take them out the gutter this summer in number 23 and even a hometown hero P.G.

This season however the purple and gold have gone from the wine cellar to a potential eight seed haterade upset. And it isn’t just because of their Hollywood big baller drafting of Lavar’s son. Although if you’re really watching the new number two ball then you know you are watching the post-Mamba moment, Lonzo Angeles Lakers. Even if potential R.O.Y. Kyle Kuzma has shown he’s not only the Lakers biggest steal of recent drafts, but one of the biggest rookie sleepers in draft dud history.

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But it doesn’t stop there for a team that’s so deep in youth they’ve even signed former guard Gary Payton’s son too. We’ve already detailed the Lakers defensive Hart before Josh got a start or even a high five. But it’s not just once, twice, or even three times a draft Jeannie for the Buss two times at once, waiting Lakers.

There’s another big kid ready to have a big future for the purple and gold Lake Show and he wears Bryant on his back like a snakeskin black Nike ‘City’ jersey.

No this Hollywood Magic machine hasn’t gone back in time and nabbed young Fro’be from the clutches of the basketball God’s. This isn’t 1996 people. Even if the Smashing Pumpkins have reformed and there’s a new Mulder and Scully series of ‘The X-Files’ networking right now. No this kid wears a number in the thirties like the giant greats of Shaq and Kareem. And the worthy 42nd pick Thomas Bryant wants to be the best two-way big in the game. Don’t scoff! Have you seen him block? And he’s got a real shot too. From downtown Pico, which you know seven foot expert from Brooklyn, Brook Lopez will help hone. Just like when he, Randle and would be teammate Russell worked out with Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade this summer. Thomas has already along with fellow two-way South Bay Laker Alex Caruso made the mid-season all G-League team but wait until he takes a real Gatorade break and joins the big boy ranks of the big leagues. His Twitter name reads, ‘No Limit’. Can you handle it?

With guys like Bryant do the Lakers even need LeBron?

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