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It’s the basketball team from a hockey town that debuted in a baseball stadium 24 years ago.

The 2018-2019 season began on the West Coast, with a training camp in Metro Vancouver. It ended on the West Coast, in Oakland, Calif., by hoisting the NBA championship trophy.

A roster from the United States, Congo, England, Spain, St. Lucia and Cameroon. Under the executive leadership of a president from Nigeria. Kept together by a Scottish-born Canadian physiotherapist. (It was the Canadian-born son of Scottish immigrants who invented basketball way back in 1891.)

Howard Kelsey (Mackin)

Canadian history on June 13, 2019, when the Toronto Raptors brought the nation closer together and became NBA champions for the first time.

“The country has already benefitted in a huge way, that we won’t know all the benefits will manifest themselves in 10 or 20 years,” said Howard Kelsey, a member of Canada’s Los Angeles 1984 Olympics team in an interview with Podcast host Bob Mackin.

Kelsey is the driving force behind August’s KitsFest at Kitsilano Beach, one of North America’s top destinations for pick-up basketball. He is also behind the Vancouver Showcase, a November pre-season tournament for the top men’s and women’s NCAA basketball teams at the Vancouver Convention Centre. A perfect storm for basketball north of the border, where the Canadian Elite Basketball League is playing its debut season and Canada Basketball is preparing for the FIBA World Cup in China at the end of August.

“Anything that’s basketball-oriented now is on fire. Basketball is the flavour of the month or flavour of the year. Hopefully the flavour of the decade, now.”

Hear the complete interview with Kelsey and clips from Casey Candaele, the new manager of the Northwest League Vancouver Canadians. Also, Mackin asks federal border security and organized crime reduction minister Bill Blair why the Trudeau Liberals aren’t doing enough to stop organized crime and money laundering in British Columbia’s ports. 

Plus commentaries and Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest headlines.

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