Raps take on the Dome
The everything you need to know guide for the NBA in Calgary
By Brendan Stasiewich, Sports Editor
It’s no secret that the growth of basketball in Canada during the past few years has been exponential.
So much so that the NBA has announced a pre-season Toronto Raptors’ games to be played in both Vancouver and Calgary; with the Stampede City’s edition to be hosted at the Dome on Oct. 3 against the Denver Nugget Perhaps because of the Raptors success last season (winning a few games against the eventual NBA champions during the East Finals is no small feat), and the emergence of talented Canadian youth like Andrew Wiggins, Calgary’s stop on the Raptors Canadian tour sold out in minutes.
Seriously. Many who were on the Ticketmaster website the minute tickets went on sale still didn’t get in. This begs the question Canadian teams being shunned from various sports leagues is really because of interest, or because leagues prefer to keep profits south of the border.
Whatever the case, NBA Canada Vice President Dan MacKenzie says having the opportunity to host these games is a dream come true for a country previously off the world basketball radar.
“The NBA has never been more popular in Canada,” said MacKenzie in a press release. “Our passionate Canadian fans are in for a real treat when these teams comes to Vancouver and Calgary in October.”
Oct. 3 will be an interesting day for the Scotiabank Saddledome, and Calgary itself. We already know the crowd will be immense, but as always, quality over quantity.
If Calgary wants a chance at professional sports growth it’ll be about how those near 20,000 in attendance behave at the game. In essence, this could just be a tryout for what could be to come (be it many years down the line). For many, this will be their first NBA basketball game, so what “court etiquette” can fans bring into the game?
Be loud at the right times
Do you think Kyle Lowry wants to be shooting free throws with a bunch of drunken fans yelling and screaming? Leave that treatment for when the Nuggets 2015 first round pick Emmanuel Mudiay steps up to the line. Sure it’s only the preseason and the win wouldn’t really matter, but Calgary’s gotta show what they got.
Know the players
Or at least be generally aware. The Raptors still have a plethora of talent outside of DeRozan and Lowry. Terrence Ross has some big plays in him and Canadian Cory Joseph should be a fan favourite in YYC.
Don’t go get a beer between the first and second quarter
Unlike hockey, there aren’t intermissions between every period of action. You’ll have about two or three minutes between quarters; so unless you’re secretly The Flash, stay put until the end of the first half.
No matter what anybody says, Vince Carter is the Raptors GOAT
Kyle Lowry’s a great point guard, probably top three in the East, and how Demar DeRozan is one of the best all around players in the East, that’s a given. However… if anybody puts either of them ahead of the dude who made the colour purple popular then make sure to tell them to “get that garbage outta here.”
Always trust Dwayne Casey
Perhaps this may not arise in this pre-season affair, but in every Raptors game you ever watch Casey will make questionable calls. There will be times (que the first two rounds of the 2016 playoffs) that you will scream out words you never thought you’d say because you think Casey doesn’t even know what a basic screen in. But trust him, he’s got it.
Be prepared for Drake to play between whistles. He’s the Raptors “Global Ambassador.” But, besides maybe Meek Mill, who wouldn’t want to hear Drake between whistles anyway?
Lastly, have fun. Let the league know that Canada deserves their shot at some NBA talent.