James Naismith, inventor of basketball, was born in Almonte, Ontario on November 6, 1861. He created the sport at the age of 30, using a soccer ball and a peach basket. He created the program at the University of Kansas in 1898, the first true powerhouse of college hoops. Fast forward nearly 50 years later, and the Basketball Association of America had the Toronto Huskies come in as a charter member. They lasted only one season. 45 years after the disbandment of the Huskies, the National Basketball Association expanded outside of American borders and awarded two expansion franchises to start play in 1995: the Toronto Raptors and the Vancouver Grizzlies. After six years in Vancouver with minimal success, John McCaw Jr., who bought the Grizzlies and Canucks from Arthur Griffiths in 1997 announced he would sell both teams and the building they both played in, which is now known today as Rogers Arena. The Aquilini Group bought the Canucks and the arena, and Chicago businessman Michael Halsey bought the Grizzlies and relocated that team to Memphis. The Grizzlies became not only Toronto’s NBA team, but Canada’s NBA team. It all started with a little Vinsanity. Then came the rise of Chris Bosh. Then came the emergence of current Raptor stars DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. And just a few years ago, We The North became the Raptors manifesto, and its face was a “outsider from the north side”; a boy from Scarborough named Aubrey Drake Graham, who first made a name for himself as Jimmy Brooks from Degrassi, now making a name of himself as October’s Very Own Drizzy. It was this face that made him the Raptors’ Global Ambassador, and brought the NBA All-Star Game to Toronto. Rewind thirty some years earlier, and the NBA started broadcasting on the Superstation, TBS. Four years later, TBS’ sister network, TNT, began broadcasting the NBA. In 2003, a new deal between ESPN and Turner Sports created NBA TV, made TNT Turner Sports’ sole home for the NBA, exclusive broadcaster of the NBA All-Star Game, and ABC the exclusive home of the NBA Finals in the United States. Just a few years before the deal created today’s NBA, Charles Wade Barkley, the 1993 NBA MVP and 11-time NBA All-Star power forward, finished his 15-year playing career in the NBA. As one of the great characters in NBA history, the transition from player to TNT studio analyst was seamless. Not only was he adding basketball insight, he was a fan of all sports and pop culture. In 2003, Inside the NBA, TNT’s postgame show, was revamped into the spectacle that is known today. So what does this all have to do with hockey? Yesterday, on Hockey Night in Canada’s Hockey Central Saturday, to promote the NBA All-Star Game in Toronto, Rogers decided to have Sportsnet NHL analyst Nick Kypreos interview “The Round Mound of Rebound”.
Even with that interview and demo, not even the most interesting question known to man was answered: who dresses better — Don Cherry or NBA on TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager?