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Turning New Leafs

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Toronto Raptors Chris Bosh NBA 2010

So it’s a done deal right? Even as no contracts have changed hands and no ink has dried it’s still almost a certainty that Chris Bosh will only look like a Raptor next season. Well nothings for certain but even the most optimistic of GM’s, Bryan Colangelo admits that CB4 is most ‘likely’ taking his underrated game to a bigger market.

The Toronto Raptors have some rebuilding works in process already but with the free agent signing period looming they should think about making a better push at keeping their cement guy.

Bosh may be where the franchise starts but he’s not the be all and end all. Toronto has some other issues that they need to take care of before this franchise becomes a dinosaur team in this league.

At the peak of this team’s power over the last decade they were almost unstoppable. They actually had a solid, decent squad of players running from 1-15 and had a legitimate shot at being a contender for the first time since Air Canada made his departure. They need to get back to this level of play.

This was back in 2006 where the Raps came out of nowhere to be the Phoenix Suns of the East. A lot had changed about the franchise, ownership, money, court design, color schemes etc. The franchise was refreshed and invigorated. Gone where the previous childish logos, the team wasn’t playing kids games any more. Colangelo’s input had given this team the push they needed. Even the red and white uniforms spoke volumes for their patriotic stance towards their country. The Raptors weren’t about to take the Memphis Grizzlies route, they where here to stay in Canada.

Hip-hop music was being played between timeouts; an attractive presenter was keeping fans interested. The whole setup in the Air Canada Centre breathed new life into this team. The fans came out in capacities and gave the team those all important energy boosts.

As for the players Bosh was becoming more and more comfortable with himself resulting in him becoming more and more of a force and one of the premier players in this league. He let his hair grow out and he let his game spill over on to the court. He even came back from injury to clinch a game winning three from the then Iverson and C-Webb led 76ers. Basketball was getting exciting up north now. It was time for the network anchors to grab their warm clothes and take a trip across the border to see real ball. Basketball without borders, yeah the Raps showed that.

The rest of the team stood out as well. TJ Ford made sure that fans soon forgot about Charlie V and Fred Jones was throwing mid- second quarter dunks down hard, making it almost impossible for fans to go get some snacks. If concession profits fell then Freddy would have to be fingered for that one.

The team had a real international flavor as well. This brought extra options to the team and extra dimensions to the game. Anthony Parker shot the lights out most nights, he was one of the most slept on role players in the league as he was capable of lighting up to 20 quicker than most bench players in the league, he was pure. A player who was dirty on the other hand was Jorge Garbajosa. Garbo however was dirty in a good way, take Chris Oakley, Rick Fox and ‘The Junkyard Dog’ and mix them all together then you’ve got ‘The Garbage Man’. A loyal worker who handled all the rough plays, hustled hard and had a pretty stroke to counter his gruff look. It’s amazing Garbo is no longer in the NBA as he’s the type of role player that champions are made of, but then again this is the league where amazing happens after all.

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All though he showed some Rookie teething problems Andrea Bargnani was showing real promise especially in certain runs in the game. Jose Calderon was drawing most of the non-Bosh attention however. He was so quick, talented and prolific that he was taking Ford’s drive for the starting position of point guard away. He showed a rare mix of speed and scoring prowess for a small guy that Tony Parker had shown before him and that Rajon Rondo has showed since. When Jose was taking off court on a stretcher during a home game against Golden State fans looked like the Raptors season was in jeopardy. That game was only in earl December, that’s how little time it took for Jose to make a certain impact.

So this T-Dot team where putting their exclamation point on a league that had disregarded them as the ‘last remaining Canadian franchise’ or ‘that team Vince Carter’ used to play for (You can still hear the boo’s and hisses right?) The Raptors where playoff bound and the future looked bright but since then over the last four years they have looked less and less like this team. This franchise is far from becoming extinct but their glory years are looking more and more like memories for youtube then current highlight reels. The time for buffering is over this team needs to be seen clearly for what they can be.

Toronto is one of those underrated cities and their basketball team was looking like that too. With that being said however Toronto is still one of those big market, tourist cities. All the foreigners coming for a visit back in ’06 (Whether holiday or visa related) would have been pleasantly surprised to see a Raptors game. Nowadays they’ll just stick to Leaf games because Ice Hockey is Canada’s bread and butter.

This can all change however. Some of the Raptors core may have rotted but this basketball team can still eat if they just show their still hungry for success and so long as they don’t make a meal out of the good things they have. This type of fire and determination which was displayed in 2006 is still here now but if it was shown more however than just maybe Bosh wouldn’t be looking to make real Heat in Miami with ‘Bron and Wade or looking to add his celebrity to the Lakers Hollywoodland.

Bryan Colangelo is a business man, and a smart one too so even though a sign and trade looks like his best option financially it may be time for ‘angelo to get his ‘Mark Cuban’ on and show some heart over money. It may be time for Bryan to show that he’s all about rebuilding the foundations that he laid with this team back in what was arguably the franchises best all-round year. Then Bosh may even stay and it may just feel like 2006 again.

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NBA

Watch THIS Work! The WNBA Bets On Women

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watch this work the wnba bets on women
Fight and win like a girl...

Great expectations.

Ten years ago the motto of the Women’s National Basketball Association was to, ‘Expect Great’. Now a decade later and into the roaring 20’s of a whole new one and world, the league that tells you to watch them work truly has for all it’s worth.

The WNBA and CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) has reached a monumental moment in the leagues history and its time to read all about it on Los Angeles Sparks twin superstar Chiney Ogwumike’s Twitter thread.

It tells us the CBA means…

When it comes to players salary and compensation there will be a 30% increase to the salary cap as the higher max pay player salary jumps like Lisa Leslie’s first dunk from $117,500 to $215,000. Whilst there will be an additional compensation for those top tier Candace Parker players around $300,000. Moving millions this is thee first time the league has moved units like this in six figures. And like Russell Westbrook why not? Because for every player like him there’s an Ogwumike. For every Candace a LeBron. Every Luka Doncic a Breanna Stewart. Every Larry Bird a Sue. Kobe Bryant, Diana Taurasi. For every Michael Jordan a Lisa Leslie.

Every insufferable, couch potato chip, sexist fans who unlike a Suffragette doesn’t believe women deserves equal pay needs to check their pockets…yep like Rakim said that’s nothing but lint. Now paid in full these women deserve this and more like diversity at the Oscars. Just as good as the men like Michelle Wie (she’s not the logos sons wife people) golfing with the guys of you claim you’re “woke” on social media but can’t wake up to this then you’re about as woke as still in bed gone half 12 in the afternoon. It feels like all those trumped up people who had a problem with a female ‘Ghostbusters’ reboot. Or those old men who would rather bully a 17 year old girl with Aspergers online than believe in the actual happenings of climate change.

Sure there’s an argument that sportspeople shouldn’t be paid these ridiculous amounts of money. But the point is if the men get paid this much then why shouldn’t the women?

This should have happened a long time ago. But at least it’s happening now.

It’s about time.

Working mothers are also finally getting their due in a groundbreaking deal on this date. Players will receive a salary whilst on maternity leave with an additional new childcare stipend. Whilst up to $60,000 of progressive family planning benefits for veteran players for costs for adoption, surrogacy, oocyte cryopreservation, fertility and more. No longer will go hard greats like Skylar Diggins-Smith have to play whilst pregnant and hide it to protect herself whilst the CBA lists it as a “condition”.

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Perks of the game that the men have had for years and the world class women deserve just as such also include individual hotel rooms for players, more mandatory leg room on flights (how important is this for basketball players? The NBA would cry personal foul if the King and them would be forced to fly economy), and further for the finances, off-season job opportunities with league partners that along with the salary rise will mean that WNBA players won’t, overplayed and underpaid have to go overseas in the off-season to earn more money to make ends meet in foreign leagues. Something which has been a conditioning condition and pay for play issue since the leagues inaugural inception.

And let’s not forget about the players mental health too in major improvements across the board and world to an issue still surrounded with stigma despite the lengths taken and measures made. More resources will be offered in addition to the adoption of a Nutrition Council that will aid peak performance by offering players a commitment to this optimization.

But it’s probably the stand made by the WNBA and the CBA against violence to women which is the most important. Ending domestic and all sorts of violence to women which has happened to players around the league and still happens everyday, effecting everyone needs to end NOW like it should have never happened. It seems like such a ridiculously obvious thing to say…but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be said.

Again and again until we don’t have to.

The wide world has finally met the standards of the women’s game and league on the way to leveling the playing field. More of the same…do we really need to add the please now?

Betting on sporting events is a losers game. But betting on women-like the ones in this league-is a sure thing.

The game changed for real today.

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NBA

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 20 Pts, 20 Rebs, 10 Asts first Canadian NBA triple-double since 2006

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shai gilgeous alexander 20 pts 20 rebs 10 asts first canadian nba triple double since 2006
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 20 points, 20 rebounds, 10 assists joins elite NBA company

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Hamilton, ON) became only the second Canadian basketball player in NBA history to record a triple-double — and the first in nearly 14 years, since Steve Nash in 2006.

Gilgeous-Alexander racked-up 20 points, career-high 20 rebounds and 10 assists in the 117-104 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. The former one-and-done Kentucky Wildcat continued his efficient campaign shooting 8-of-12 field goals, connecting 2-of-3 triples and 2-of-2 from the foul-line.

Steve Nash recorded three triple-doubles in his illustrious 18-year career, the last one on April 19, 2006 — Nash finished with 16 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.

The 20 rebounds is also a record-high by a Canadian guard and only the second 20/20 double-double by a Canadian — Jamaal Magloire notched a 22 point, 21 rebound game against the Toronto Raptors’ on March 21, 2004.

Most rebounds by a Canadian in the NBA

Samuel Dalembert (Montreal, QC) holds the record for the most rebounds in a NBA game with 23 against the Golden State Warriors on March 20, 2009. Followed by Magloire 22 and Tristan Thompson with 21.

Gilgeous-Alexander becomes the youngest guard to record 20-20-10 stat-line and joins Russell Westbrook as the only guards with a 20-point, 20-rebound triple-double over the last 30 seasons. He is also the youngest player in NBA history with a 20-rebound triple-double, passing Shaquille O’Neal.

RJ Barrett became the first Canadian basketball player to record a triple-double at the NCAA level in nearly 35 years during his lone freshman season with the Duke Blue Devils.

The OKC Thunder continue their playoff push with their 18 victory in the last 25 games and currently sit in 7th place in the western conference.

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The Canadian guard is currently averaging 20 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists — shooting 46.4% from the floor, 33.6% from three-pointers and 81.6% from the foul-line while turning the ball over just 1.9 per game.

Canada NBA All-Star Drought

The 2020 NBA All-star game in Chicago is less than month away and as it currently stands, Gilgeous-Alexander doesn’t currently rank as one the top fan vote earners in a guard heavy western conference. Nevertheless, the Canadian stud could end Canada’s eight year NBA all-star game drought by earning a coach’s selection.

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