In 1995, the NBA came to Canada with the addition of two expansion NBA teams, the Toronto Raptors and the Vancouver Grizzlies, and ever since then basketball viewership and participation has gained plenty of traction in Canada. So much so that the games involving Canadian players witness plenty of betting action!
If you’re in the US, then you might be hearing of this for the first time. However, unlike USA (barring a few states for now), wagering on sports in Canada is legal in all its states and provinces. (In fact, the NBA initially wanted to abolish wagering there as a condition of expanding into Canada.) This includes any number of sports and in everything from the smallest home games to the biggest tournaments of the year. The way it works is generally the same but it’s always a good idea to hop onto the internet to get a better idea of both the upcoming games that are most worthy of betting on and how the rules for that particular kind of betting works. It’s, of course, also crucial that you know as much as possible about the teams and players on which you want to bet.
Though there are very few Canadians who’ve played for other NBA teams, 36 all-time (with 16 of them current players), not many people know about many of them and their history in the game. For this reason, we present to you on the occasion of Canada Day, three Canadians who left their mark on the Miami Heat.
Joel Anthony was born in Montreal, Quebec and played college ball for UNLV before going undrafted. He started his NBA career with the Miami Heat, signing a one-year deal in 2007, and continued to play for them till 2014. The 6’9’’ player used to be counted among the best shot-blockers in NBA during his time with the Heat and was affectionally called “The Warden” by Heat Nation.
He is one of the few players not to be professionally coached for playing basketball. Yes! You read it right. In fact, Anthony got interested in the game at 16 by skimming through the book “NBA Power Conditioning” (with someone named Alonzo Mourning on the cover) and with no professional training to his aid, he had to see his fair share of struggle during his initial years in the game. But his work ethic and perseverance soon earned him a college sponsorship, from where he never looked back.
Known to have hands of stone and a heart of gold, Anthony was praised by giants like Kevin Garnett for his defense and energy. His dedication was such that once coach Erik Spoelstra had to “ban” him from playing just to make sure he didn’t burnout completely!
After being traded to the Boston Celtics in 2014, Anthony also made stops with the Detroit Pistons and San Antonio Spurs and last played in the Argentine pro league with San Lorenzo.
Jamaal is another professional basketball player from Canada who played for the Miami Heat. The now-retired veteran stayed on the team for about three years from 2008 to 2011.
Having started his career with the New Orleans Hornets in 2005, the 6’11’’ center was an NCAA champion in 1998 with Kentucky. He was only the second Canadian ever to be an NBA All-Star (after Steve Nash) in 2004. His height contributed vastly to his success and allowed him to continue playing for more than 10 years!
Magloire played for his hometown Toronto Raptors from 2011-12 after leaving the Heat and was also an assistant coach with the Raptors from 2013 to 2016.
The latest and greatest in the list of Canadian professional basketball players to don a Heat jersey is Kelly Olynyk. Kelly was picked by Dallas Mavericks in 2013, but was immediately sent to Boston Celtics, where he showcased his brilliance and became one of the more popular players in recent history there. In 2017, Kelly signed a four-year $50 plus million contract with the Heat, and has proven to be a successful investment for the team till now with relentless effort and deep offensive skills.
Nick-named as the “Olynyk Keeper”, he continues to be a game-changer, especially during the final moments of a game. Known for his presence of mind and an exceptional game at both sides of the court, Kelly can spread the floor with ease and demonstrates a lot of versatility.
In December 2017, the Gonzaga product scored a career-high 32 points against Boston Celtics, his own former team, marking one his finest performance on the court to date.
The Heat will be counting on his continued growth for the 2018-19 NBA season.