Tag: Canada

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Steve Nash didn’t play for Canada but wants to lead team

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It was a disappointment when Canada — working hard to build up its national basketball team — failed to make even next summers pre-Olympics second chance qualifying tournament this summer. Canada was just not impressive at the FIBA Americas tournament.

Of course, they were without the best Canadian player, Steve Nash. Or Tristan Thompson. Or Jamaal Magloire. Or a number of other of Canada’s best.

Now Nash wants a larger role with the team.

No, not as a player. He wants more of a front office type role, according to the Globe & Mail. (Who does he think he is, Wayne Gretzky?)

“I wanted to consider playing this summer. But the truth is I was rehabbing an injury all summer and couldn’t have played regardless,” Nash said Tuesday as he pressed the buzzer at Toronto’s stock exchange to kick off trading….

“At some point, I’ll definitely be part of the program,” he said. “I’m not sure what capacity yet and I’m not sure when, but this is my country and this is my program. I spent 13 years as part of it, and I’d like to be a bigger part of it, in a bigger role at some point, when the time is right … not just so that we can make Olympic Games, but so we can get kids playing the sport and learning and growing and participating and improving their lifestyle.”

Canada’s national team faces the same challenge Team USA did a few years back — it’s hard to get the big stars to come out and play. (The USA just has a deeper talent pool to draw from.)

What changed it? America’s biggest stars — Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and others — agreed not only to play but to play in the qualifying, the World Championships and the Olympics (credit Jerry Colangelo for convincing them) . America’s best players came out and played, they didn’t just cheer from the sidelines. That changed the dynamic.

Canada and Nash can take whatever lessons from that they wish.

Matt Bonner really wants to be a Canadian citizen

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Lori Ewing of the Toronto Globe and Mail has the story:

More than two years into his quest for Canadian citizenship, Matt Bonner remains grounded by red tape.

So the former Toronto Raptors forward will have to watch with fingers crossed as Canada’s men’s basketball team bids this week for a berth in the 2012 London Olympics. And then he can only hope he receives his passport in time to suit up next summer if the Canadians do qualify.

“I’m just kind of waiting and hoping,” Bonner said in a phone interview. “It’s just one of those things. It’s hard to talk about because it’s kind of a bummer for me. I just wish it would go through so I could represent the country.”

The Spurs forward, who played for the Raptors from 2004 to 2006, calls Canada his home in the off-season, and his wife and daughter are both Canadian. Bonner would like to play for the Canadian national team as soon as possible, and says that he plans on living in Canada after he retires from basketball, so hopefully he will be able to get his passport sometime in the near future.

Matt Bonner isn’t Canadian enough, apparently

Matt Bonner

Matt Bonner wants to be Canadian. And not in the “put a maple leaf on your bag as you travel through Europe so you don’t have to try and explain American politics” kind of way.

He played for the Raptors, lives in Toronto in the off-season, his wife and daughter are Canadian, and he wants to play for the Canadian national basketball team.

And he can’t, which is frustrating him and others according to IFPress.com (via Project Spurs).

Leo Rautins, the head coach of the Canadian men’s basketball team, gets so frustrated talking about Matt Bonner that he’s almost at a loss for words….

The fact Bonner, a former member of the Toronto Raptors and current forward with the San Antonio Spurs, has been unsuccessful in procuring his Canadian citizenship, despite getting the ball rolling back in 2008, upsets Rautins to no end.

“It’s very frustrating,” the head coach said on Tuesday, after a Team Canada practice at Ryerson University. “I see a lot of Canadians who are less Canadian than Matt Bonner. His daughter’s Canadian. His wife’s Canadian. His grandfather’s Canadian. He’s got a home here. When he’s not playing for the San Antonio Spurs, he’s here (in Toronto).”

The main stumbling block seems to be the fact that Bonner, a native of Concord, N.H., spends most of the year in the United States. But he has no choice. He plays for San Antonio. Rautins said Canada Basketball has tried to make that point to the federal immigration ministry, but to no avail.

Canada will take place in the Americas tournament in Argentina starting Aug. 30 and the country hopes to have him able to play by then. At that tournament, two of the 10 teams competing will earn an Olympics berth. Teams that finish third, fourth and fifth will get invites to the Olympic qualifying tournament next year, a second chance to play their way in to the games. If not this summer, Canada would love to have Bonner available for that tournament.

All they have to do is convince some bureaucrats.

Francisco Elson out for Jazz Monday with visa issues

Francisco Elson
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Francisco Elson was born in the Netherlands, now is playing in the NBA on a Canadian visa. Hasn’t been a problem for seven NBA seasons. Recently it came time to renew his visa, and that means Elson will be out for the Jazz Monday night against the Warriors.

The reason is you have to spend 48 hours in Canada to renew the visa, which is a standard operating procedure that doesn’t mesh with the NBA schedule.

When the Jazz take on the Hornets Friday, Elson will be back in the lineup. Not that they will miss him that much, he’s averaging 11 minutes a game, giving then 2.7 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.

Canada’s love/hate relationship with the Heat

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Chris Bosh is not loved in Toronto. At all. He left the Toronto Raptors cold and the feelings north of the border match it. I mean, check this out. It’s not quite in the “LeBron is not loved in Cleveland” category of outright hated, but that is just because Canadians are too nice.

Canadians love their own. Like Steve Nash. Like Joel Anthony. Like Jamaal Magloire.

Here’s the problem, as pointed out by Chris Tomasson at FanHouse: Bosh, Anthony and Magloire are all on the same team. The Miami Heat. The team everybody outside of South Florida already hates.

“I think they’re more mad at Bosh leaving (but) they’re happy for us,” Magloire said of how Canadian fans look at the Heat.

“That’s just the current situation,” said Anthony, who spent time in Toronto last summer and said “some fans were hurt” by Bosh’s departure. “Obviously, it’s tough for a team like the Raptors to lose someone like Chris.”

Bosh and the Heat do not head up to Toronto until February (because if you’re going to Toronto the dead of winter is the time). We’ll see how the love/hate plays out then.