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Thread: NBA Players Ignorance Towards Canada Still A Stigma (Cuban, Bonner & Jack A. "D-Up")

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    Administrator Dr. James Naismith's Avatar
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    Default NBA Players Ignorance Towards Canada Still A Stigma (Cuban, Bonner & Jack A. "D-Up")

    Great piece from Jamie Bell from TSN.ca regarding the NBA and how players continue to view the city of Toronto and playing in Canada.

    While Raptors broadcaster and TSN NBA Insider Jack Armstrong was born in Brooklyn, New York and coached NCAA basketball in the States, he currently lives in Toronto and is a big fan of the city and he does not understand how Toronto gets such a bad rap from so many players.

    "Would you rather play in Salt Lake City or Oklahoma City or Minneapolis or Milwaukee? Give me a break!" Armstrong told Landsberg on Wednesday

    Certainly it's nothing against the city itself but rather the idea of playing in a foreign country; Toronto is the fourth-largest market in the NBA (after only Los Angeles, New York and Chicago) and has world-class food, theatres and culture. If the city was located a few hours south (in either New York state or Michigan, say) it's quite possible players would be flocking there – it's just that it's in a different country with certain differences in customs, cultures and education.

    Players' ignorance in terms of Canadian geography and culture is not necessarily their fault; they were simply never taught that Toronto's similarities to a major American metropolis far outweigh the differences. Until that changes, there will likely be plenty more players who reject the 'True North strong and free' for the 'Star Spangled' shores of an American city.

    "I think it's some sort of stigma," admitted Bonner. "A lot of people think of Canada and Toronto as the 'Great North' and that it's snowy all year and all these great untruths and myths that are totally false."
    Cuban had nice things to say about Toronto too:

    The boisterous Dallas Mavericks' owner came to the defence of the city and weighed in on his thoughts about former Raptors All-Star Chris Bosh and his decision to join LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat this summer.

    "Toronto is a great city, I love it," Cuban told TSN on Wednesday. "That said, the reality of sports is that no city can be everything to every player. Every city has lost players who didn't like 'enter complaint here' about it. Then again, some players are never happy no matter where they are."
    Source - Click here

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    Raptors Republic Rookie Arenick's Avatar
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    I love Mark Cuban...But seriously I haven't heard many players claim that they really hate it here. It's just when they bail we seem to believe that's the only reason they had for leaving. I don't know...maybe they do hate Toronto.
    Raptors fan for life....sadly.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star ezz_bee's Avatar
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    It's more about winning than the city, if we win the players will come. We even see more situations where american born players spend time in europe for more money or more minutes, and toronto is way less of a change than that. we get wins and spend money we will be able to get just about anyone
    "We only have one rule on this team. What is that rule? E.L.E. That's right's, E.L.E, and what does E.L.E. stand for? EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY. Right there up on the wall, because this isn't just a basketball team, this is a lifestyle. ~ Jackie Moon

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    Raptors Republic Rookie sunndog's Avatar
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    This is actually a subject of some interest to me, because the factors which influence it are so many. The fact of the matter is that this is not a problem exclusive to professional basketball in this country, but to professional sports in general. Canadian professional sports history is littered with lost players, lost franchises and if you'll allow me to wax poetic for a moment, lost dreams.

    Cliche, I know, but true. Talk to anyone from Winnipeg or Quebec about the loss of their respective NHL teams. Ask the citizens of Montreal how they felt after the Expos moved to Washington. I was recently able to look over a media package for the Expos which was presented to reporters when the team was trying to raise funds for a new stadium in the mid-90s. The stadium was set in prime downtown real estate, was planned as an old-school open air field, not dissimilar from Wrigley or Camden and most importantly it was more conveniently located than the albatross that is Olympic Stadium. What does this have to do with the problem? Well, especially in the case of the Expos, the loss of these teams was not solely, or primarily due to the franchises themselves. Montreal and the province of Quebec lost a massive economic asset. An endless stream of tourism and tax dollars. They lost all this because the Quebec government refused to commit a mere five million dollars to the stadium project. This may seem like a trivial amount in the grand scheme, but at the time, it was the final piece in the puzzle. A commitment from government.

    Everyone knows the issues that face professional sports franchises in Canada: high taxes, low exposure and the distance from home for American born players. As I said before, these problems are not exclusive to the Raptors. The Blue Jays suffer from the same difficulty attracting top tier talent. In the case of the Vancouver Grizzlies, Steve Francis' refusal to play in Canada would ultimately kill the entire franchise. This is avoidable though.

    First and foremost, anyone who said that the culture in Toronto needs to change to a winning one is absolutely right. These things don't happen overnight, but like other successful teams in the league, an aura needs to be built around the team. Advancing to the playoffs consistently is the first step and will pay enormous dividends. Obviously.
    The whole process could be made much easier with a bit of help from both provincial AND federal governments. I think the government should collaborate with Canadian sports franchises in a few ways:

    1) Lower taxes for professional players playing in Canada. Now, before all of you proletariats call for my blood consider this. Canadian taxes are high for a few reasons. Free health care, free education, subsidized post-secondary education, social assistance etc. The fact of the matter is that none of these players has any use for the wonders of Canada's socialized programs. They're rich, covered by extensive medical insurance and for the most part aren't sending kids to school. Not public school anyways. Stephen Harper. Lower athletes salaries!

    2) Promote the country. This one should be a given. Both parties, franchises and
    government, benefit from successful sports teams in Canada. The government needs to collaborate with teams on pitching Canada. The media has been inundated with stories recently about the woes and misconceptions of living in Canada. None saying Canada, more specifically Toronto, was bad, but none really raving. Anyone who's traveled in Canada knows how beautiful the country is and how amazing her cities are. Toronto is a great place to live/work/play. It shouldn't fall solely on the owners of these franchises to sell Canada as a destination. The government is getting enough out of this and the country as a whole benefits from the economic boost and jobs which teams provide. A united effort will accomplish far more than any business pitch BC can come up with.

    3) Although, this pertains less to Basketball, I think the Canadian government should get involved in bringing another franchise, or an NFL franchise up North. Winnipeg is a city crying for a hockey team. The residents were rabid in their support of the Jets and would come back in full force. Toronto is the fourth largest media market in North America, Montreal is the seventh. No reason we can't have another hockey or baseball team up here.

    I'm sorry to have taken up all of your time. I think it's an important issue and it's always surprised me how it's never raised in the media. If this were the automotive industry or any other big business, the government would be involved in helping to ensure that everything was running smoothly. We need to stop looking small picture at pro sports. Until we take it seriously in terms of all the pertinent factors Canada will always be playing catch up in the standings. It's time for Ottawa to form a partnership with pro franchises. It's somewhat unprecedented as far as I know, but a union of franchise owners could hold considerable clout in terms of affecting change. It's pretty late so I apologize for the lack/complete omission of any relevant data or stats but I hope I got the message across

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    Administrator Apollo's Avatar
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    Default Raptors' All-Defense Team: Mark Cuban, Matt Bonner and Jack Armstrong

    Martk Cuban
    "Toronto is a great city, I love it," Cuban told TSN on Wednesday. "That said, the reality of sports is that no city can be everything to every player. Every city has lost players who didn't like 'enter complaint here' about it. Then again, some players are never happy no matter where they are."
    Matt Bonner
    "I came and played my first two years in the NBA here and was so excited to be on a team in a great sports city where the whole country is behind you, where you have Raptors fans from coast-to-coast," Bonner told Off the Record's Michael Landsberg on Wednesday. "For me the exposure for playing in a 'foreign' country, which wasn't very foreign to me, was just awesome."
    "Everyone (with the Spurs) knows that they are going to be there and has confidence that they will be there and there's really not much turnover," Bonner told Landsberg. "I think when you have the same people, who are all about winning year in and year out, it creates a lot of chemistry."
    "In the end in order to fix that image it comes down to consistent winning and building some sort of legacy and pride within the organization."
    Jack Armstrong
    "Would you rather play in Salt Lake City or Oklahoma City or Minneapolis or Milwaukee? Give me a break!" Armstrong told Landsberg on Wednesday
    "I think (the Raptors) have to go on the offensive, and educate and do a better job of getting people to understand just how great a market this is," Armstrong told Landsberg on Wednesday.

    "When you look at it, this place is one of the World class cities. It's the fourth largest market in pro-sports (in North America). It's got so much more to sell than so many markets in the NBA. That message has to get out there in a better fashion."
    Source: TSN.ca

    EDIT: Didn't realize there was already a thread discussing this article. I merged mine with this one.
    Last edited by Apollo; Thu Jul 29th, 2010 at 08:34 AM.

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