Title: RJ Barrett, Jamal Murray and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander commit to Canada and give Olympic hopes early boost
Date: November 27, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about a handful of young Canadians making an early public commitment to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament and, potentially, the Olympics.
As RJ Barrett warmed up at Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday, he did so in red PUMAs adorned with the Canadian flag, the Toronto skyline and “Made in Canada.”
On any other night, it would be a good bit of pandering. On this occasion, it was much more meaningful. Not only is this the first NBA game at home for Barrett, long considered one of the greatest Canadian basketball prospects ever, it was also an opportunity for him to express his intention to represent his country this summer.
“One hundred percent,” he said earlier in the day in a spacier, makeshift ancillary media area following the New York Knicks’ shootaround. “Definitely plan on playing for my country this summer. I’m very proud to say that. I try to play every summer. I’m 100 percent planning on playing. It’s great to see everyone buying in and trying to do something great for our country. It’s really exciting.”
His announcement capped quite a month for Canada Basketball, one that included the announcement that one of the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments will be held in Victoria in late June.