There were something like 60 viewing parties across Canada while the Raptors were winning the NBA championship. Most were in major cities, but one was hosted right at the Almonte town hall.
As the birthplace of basketball’s inventor, Almonte seems like an appropriate place to do such a thing. Our famous downtown statue of Dr. J. is one of only 3 worldwide (the other 2 are in Lawrence Kansas and Springfield Massachusetts respectively.) Almonte may be a small town, but it is justifiably famous as the cradle of basketball.
Last year we visited the Naismith museum at the Mill of Kintail – not far from his actual birthplace.
If you look closely inside the glass case, you’ll see the actual volleyball the Naismith used in his first basketball sessions in Springfield. It is a bit deflated but I guess that’s the way it goes when you are 130 years old.
The Raptors have certainly put Almonte on the map. We have seen major news stories about Naismith’s birthplace on CBC and CTV, the Toronto newspapers, the Washington Post, and even CNN had a reporter at one of the viewing sessions.
NBA Canada has long been aware of Almonte’s importance in the game. A few years ago the organization gave the town a significant grant to rebuild an outdoor basketball court in one of the local parks. But this Raptors run has been something else. Do you suppose they might bring the O’Brien trophy to Almonte? Stranger things have happened.
It’s part of the charm of living where we do.