Every now and then I like to go semi-off topic and discuss sports other than baseball in Atlantic Canada. In honour the NBA season starting next week, today I will discuss the connections our region has to the NBA.
Atlantic Canada has hosted preseason NBA games in the past. Here is a list of all NBA games (that I know of) that have been played in the region:
- September 22, 1978 – Boston Celtics 103, New York Knicks 98 at Halifax (Metro Centre)
- October 14, 1989 – Denver Nuggets vs. Indiana Pacers at St. John’s (Memorial Stadium) – result unknown
- October 15, 1989 – Denver Nuggets 125, Indiana Pacers 102 at St. John’s (Memorial Stadium)
- October 21, 1990 – Indiana Pacers 97, Washington Bullets 96 at Halifax (Halifax Forum)
- October 1993 – New Jersey Nets vs. Portland Trailblazers at Saint John (Harbour Station) – result unknown
- October 14, 1995 – Toronto Raptors 120, Philadelphia 7ers 103 at Halifax (Metro Centre)
- October 16, 1995 – Philadelphia 76ers 121, Toronto Raptors 93 at Saint John (Harbour Station)
- October 11, 1996 – Atlanta Hawks 100, Toronto Raptors 82 at Halifax (Metro Centre)
- October 20, 1997 – Toronto Raptors 107, Vancouver Grizzlies 98 at Halifax (Metro Centre)
- October 21, 2003 – Toronto Raptors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers at Mile One Stadium (St. John’s) – cancelled due to unsafe playing conditions
It is worth noting the Raptors held their 2012 and 2013 trainning camps in Halifax. Both concluded with inter squad games at the Metro Centre.
Atlantic University Sport
Only one athlete ever from an AUS school ever played an NBA game. That player is Brian Heaney (native of Rockaway Beach, New York) who was drafted by the Baltimore Bullets in 1969, after playing for the Acadia Axemen. He played for the Axemen from 1964-69. He would play 14 games for the Bullets in 1969-70, his only NBA season.
Mickey Fox (1975 – Detroit Pistons and 1979 – Portland Trailblazers) was a Saint Mary’s product who was drafted into the NBA, but did not play a single game. William Njoku (1994 – Indiana Pacers) was another Saint Mary’s alum who was drafted but did not play. Fox was a native New Yorker and Njoku was born in Ghana (raised in Canada).
Atlantic Canadians in the NBA
The NBA is the lone “Big Four” league where no athletes from our region have played. The closest anybody from Atlantic Canada ever made it to the NBA was St. John’s native (raised in Patrick’s Cove, NL) Carl English who attended training camps of the Indiana Pacers (2003) and Seattle Supersonics (2004). He went undrafted after declaring for the 2003 draft (as a Junior) from the University of Hawaii. English is still playing professionally in Europe, where he has spent all his professional career (save for two years in the NBDL).