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  • Writer's pictureCatherine White

Upstate Geechie

There are Black people in Canada.

The 2024 Olympics beckons. As our worlds’ inhabitants kill each other and our planet, we plan a gathering. The Olympic Games defines Greco-Roman competition celebration. It is a gathering of the world’s most obsessed and talented athletes.

Personally, I need Paris 2024, so god speed to Macron’. The Tri-color facing the same racial reality and reckoning this article about. Outer — Paris got mad impoverished Black people. There are niche communities. This is my research and vantage. Victor Wembanyanma from Le Chesnay. Not far from the venues. He is French and a potential NBA hall of famer.

Canada has enjoyed Olympic success. Our neighbors to the north have shown up at the global field day and succeeded across seasons, venues and disciplines. Canada as an American relative to sports … Ben Johnson, Clara Hughes, Wayne Gretzky, MF Ferguson Jenkins … Canada has grown and nurtured some legends. Their Olympic performances reflect their national athletic prowess. They have put up numbers.   There are Black people in Canada winning medals.

According to, the Maple Leafdom has won medals in 39 sports, medaled in 51 Olympics, and 1,197 Canadians in history have a medal.  The site says, “148 golds, 181 silvers, 221 bronzes.”  Cross-referencing the math, it suggests hella team medals. Hockey feels obvious but, up until 2024, men’s basketball accounts for only one. In 1936 the Maple squad won a silver in Hitler’s Germany.  One medal in all the program’s history. That was a twisted Olympics, world tense as a coiled spring.

Hitler’s Germany in 1936 was full of fascists, racists, evil and humanities’ condemnation. The Fuhrer went all out and built one of the biggest capacity stadiums in the world. It seated 100,000. The Olympiastadion was commissioned by the shit bag. Most Jewish athletes were banned or boycotted.  Designed by Werner March, it was the Sochi of 1936. Hitler’s intent was to demonstrate the inevitable dominance of whiteness, Aryans (his words). Jesse Owens destroyed that shit quickly. His four golds made Adolph vacate his palace. I digress.

There are Black people in Canada.

This summer Canada brings a hoop syndicate to Paris that is legit. It is not solidified who is coming but the choices are so there. The USA (we) are not a gold lock and, under certain circumstances, could battle to medal. The Dream Team succeeded in seeding basketball, creating the modern game. There was a similar iteration in the World War II era. When Americans took/take the Canadian game (Naismith) international, it blows and grows.

If I am the Canadian head coach (fantasy hoop fiction) here is my twelve and why … 

12.  Andrew Nembhard: The Pacer guard is a player. Indiana is ridden with guards and he fights for minutes. He can get down hill, shoot some and aint a turnover.

11.  Kelly Olynyk: The Gonzaga product, a Gonzaga product. What else needs to be said. He can play.

10. Dalano Banton: He is a gangly instinctive 6’ 8” guard who can fill multiple ideas. A bit of a playmaker, he will get out in transition.

9. Bennedict Mathurin: Back to Indiana. This kid is having a humbling sophomore campaign but he is a get to line, battle, silky problematic guard.

8.  Andrew Wiggins: He gassed currently but there is sooooo much talent left there.  Rings on his resume and shown how he is when he right.

7. Chris Boucher: Knowledgeables will scoff here but I could give a F —. This guy a shot-blocker, runner, awkward MF. Hard to adjust to.

6. Luguentz Dort:  lost in OKC this year he is a force.  Elmira heads …. He Delvin/Renz Lee both.  Kid is a freak and a basketball player.

5. Dillon Brooks: I like that Memphis team better without him. He has skills and intimidation and size.  Another 6’ 8” who can guard.

4. RJ Barrett: So F’in underrated. The Knicks are fine but that trade was odd. RJ is in Toronto and about to level up. Another 6’ 8” who can guard, except this one a lefty scorer.

3. Jamal Murray: What you call a cylindrical vessel that carries water for others … yeah, JM.

2. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: He has entered the pantheon discussion of top five players in the Association, and the top 2-3 in terms of a $1,000 ticket (for this writer =  $1, ooo, ooo).

1. Rick Fox: To me, he could bring some unique energy and lead this squad. Hear me out. Ok, I am done.

Canada feels closer as I age. Our shared national histories are blurred. There was an old joke I heard when I was 22? 23? … “What would America be without Black people?” … Canada.

Shit is changing. Canadian basketball has a signature and a style and is Black-Canadian.

The 1936 parallel was not without calculation. It is not the 2024 venue but the political climate that equates.

Fascism ain’t never benefited Black people. I see a Tommie Smith, John Carlos moment in this Olympics.  Maybe not a literal one but a recognizable one.

I am excited and terrified for Paris 2024 … the world is churning in real time and Paris is the perfect place to examine its health.

And there are mad Black people in Canada. They ‘bout to medal.

About the Author

Sky Moss is a Professor at SUNY Corning Community College. From gardening to music to clothing to politics, and sports, ask Sky and he will give you his opinion. Sky is multifaceted and his columns are always thought-provoking.


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