On all levels, basketball is gaining popularity in Canada

There’s no puck about it, basketball has been steadily gaining popularity in Canada (sorry for the terrible joke). The great nation of Canada has recently celebrated the 150 anniversary of the formation of the country’s confederation.

What do most know about Canada? A handful of things in their culture stands out as common knowledge including the maple leaf, maple syrup, Justin Trudeau, poutine (man, I love poutine), their general friendliness and the national obsession with hockey.  I know, it’s terrible that I boiled down an entire country to a few items, but we need a good intro.

While it is true that Canada excels at other sports, such as lacrosse and curling, basketball is the one sport that’s rising rapidly up the ranks to become a favorite among Canadians. The country is changing with the times and the interest in basketball has been happening for some time now — thanks in large part to the inception of the NBA’s league up north. The Toronto Raptors were officially introduced to the league in 1995 (after the Vancouver Grizzlies in 1994 — now the Memphis Grizzlies).

One can also notice a change in the Canadian public’s general attitude towards various sporting events. In fact, online gamers are slowly shifting away from slots in Canada or other typical casino games, and now focusing on sports betting – including basketball!

Canadian Millennials Love Hooping

Every new generation brings with it fresh ideas and interests, and the same can be observed in Canada. With the ever increasing exposure to the prominence of the NBA when compared to other key North American sporting leagues, the basketball is gaining more traction among millennials. In fact, basketball is edging closely to hockey as the country’s most-popular sport among this generation group.

However, the new generation of basketball enthusiasts is not solely limited to Canadian-born people, but also to immigrants that settle into the country. This is quite natural as hockey is not prominent among some of the most common diaspora that call Canada home, with sports such as soccer and basketball being preferred.

NBA Players that have Popularized Basketball Up North

No sport can ever become popular with its fair share of legends. Canada has also produced some memorable stars, but none can quite compare to Steve Nash. The South African born player immigrated to British Columbia as a baby, and showed promise from a very young age. With an illustrious career that includes becoming the first Canadian to selected to play in an NBA All-Star game. Not to mention older players like Rick Fox, Samuel Dalembert and Bill Wennington.

There’s also been an uptick in Canadian talent as of late with several current NBA players hailing from Canada — including Nik Stauskas, Joel Anthony, Tristan Thompson, former #1 pick Anthony Bennett and budding star Andrew Wiggins.

Wiggins seems to be the player that will carry the country’s flag into the next decade. Currently playing to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA, Wiggins has the skillset, athleticism and desire to be the next big Canadian star.

Looking toward the Future

While it is true that Candians are represented in the NBA by the Toronto Raptors, more youngsters are needed to continue hyping up this great sport. And if the newest generation need a new idol to follow, that will probably be R.J. Barrett. Apart from the fact that he just so happens to be the godson of Steve Nash, this 17-year old teenager has all the necessary qualities to make him the projected first overall pick in a couple of years’ time, with the expectation of becoming an NBA star.

The future of basketball in Canada is a bright one, and the next 150 years of this country’s history will most definitely produce several highlights and new legends from this great sport!

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