NBA commissioner Adam Silver has already made it very clear that there is no expansion in sight for his circuit at this time. General manager at NBA Canada, Leah MacNab obviously confirms the vision of the high authorities.
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“It may not be forever, but it makes sense to say that the arrival of a team in Montreal is not really a possibility right now,” noted MacNab, when questioned for this purpose.
For now, basketball fans in the Montreal area will rely on an NBA preseason game on Friday at the Bell Center between the Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics. This is the sixth time that Montreal has hosted such a game since 2012, the year the “NBA Canada Series” was created. This is also a first since October 10, 2018.
Otherwise, Montreal does have its team in another circuit, the Alliance, in the Canadian Elite Basketball League. [CEBL].
“From my perspective, any basketball is good for growing the sport,” MacNab said openly. In Canada, we see that the CEBL is expanding and frankly, I find it fantastic.”
Basketball in the veins
42-year-old Ontarian Leah MacNab fascinates with this global vision aimed at the development of basketball. In the same breath, she praises the benefits of this sport for young people from certain underprivileged neighborhoods.
“It’s an inclusive sport, it’s easy to play and it’s not very expensive,” she said.
Born in Almonte, the same city where Dr. James Naismith was from, the inventor of basketball, the one who has been general manager of NBA Canada since 2019 really has this sport in her veins. She remembers this basket installed in the family yard, after moving to Munster, not far from Almonte, in the Ontario portion of the Outaouais. There is also one of his brothers who, in the heyday of the Chicago Bulls, monopolized the television to watch the exploits of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, among others.
“I’ve always loved basketball, but I didn’t have what it took to play at a high level,” she summed up.
Beyond the Raptors…
Following her passion, MacNab became the first woman to lead NBA Canada. It was a logical continuation after having worked for the organization for many years in business development and in the marketing department.
“For NBA Canada, there are not only the Raptors, has also taken the time to clarify MacNab. It’s more than that! For example, it’s always great to see a Canadian player picked in the top 10 in an NBA draft.”
The general manager of NBA Canada is obviously thinking of Quebecer Bennedict Mathurin, selected sixth overall by the Indiana Pacers last June. The Ontarian Shaedon Sharpe followed him immediately, in the seventh echelon, when he was called by the Portland Trail Blazers.
“I feel the fans in Canada and Quebec are super excited,” she said on the eve of the next NBA campaign.
After their stint in Montreal, the Raptors, with Quebecers Chris Boucher and Khem Birch in the roster, will begin the regular season in Toronto on Wednesday, October 19, hosting the Cleveland Cavaliers. The same evening, Mathurin and the Pacers will host the Washington Wizards.
– The legendary Boston Celtics had already come to Montreal in 2013 to face the Minnesota Timberwolves in a preseason game.