Reader and Basketball… a match made in Heaven!

What’s up, everybody? Reader here, and while I was away on holidays last week, I got to do something I hadn’t done in a while.

I made my way to the “Snake Pit,” (a.k.a. SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon), to catch the Saskatchewan Rattlers in action, as they played host to the Brampton Honey Badgers.

I’ve been a big basketball fan since I was a kid, and I love to get out to games when I can. The last couple of years, though, it always seemed like the Rattlers were on the road anytime I was able to get home, so the timing was never right, and I always missed them.

But this time, it worked out.

I hadn’t actually made it to a game since 2019, when I was on hand to witness the Rattlers win the first-ever Canadian Elite Basketball League championship on their home court!

The final, as the Rattlers claim the first-ever CEBL title in 2019.
Cue the celebration at mid-court!
The Rattlers hoist the CEBL championship trophy!

It was fantastic to see the home side claim the CEBL title, but unfortunately, they haven’t been able to pull it off since.

As I say, I’d been wanting to get back to a game, and on June 12th, I had my chance, as the Brampton (formerly Hamilton) Honey Badgers were in town.

And I picked a heck of a game to go to, as the Rattler’s Jalen Harris (a former Toronto Raptor) set a new single-game CEBL record, scoring 45 points, including a long three-pointer to seal the victory, as the home side came out on top, by a score of 104-93 win.

The Rattlers’ Jalen Harris soars to throw down two of his game-high (and CEBL single-game record) 45 points!

It was a good, back and forth battle, with the Rattlers led by Harris’ 45 points, while Maurice Calloo chipped in with 19 of his own, and Elijah Harkless had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Here’s a few more shots from the game!

It was a great night with some fantastic action on the hardwood. Not only that, but the crowd of just under 2,300 were also entertained by the Venom Dance Team, and the Rattlers’ mascot, Ssswish!

I had to snap a selfie with the Rattler’s mascot, Ssswish!
The Venom Dance Team kept the crowd pumped up during breaks in the action!

I can’t wait to get back for another game!

As I said, I’ve been a big basketball fan since I was a kid, mainly for two big reasons.

Firstly, I really got into the game during the rise of the GOAT, Michael Jordan. He captured my imagination like no other player ever had before. It seemed like nothing was impossible for him, and that he really could fly!

Secondly, when I was in Grade Seven, we got a new principal at Conquest School, in Don Lockhart (RIP, big guy!). He was a big hoops guy, and his enthusiasm helped to get me playing, and I played right from Grade Seven through Twelve.

Check me out in my sweet Outlook High School Blues uniform from Grade Ten…

That was in 1993. Nobody should have been wearing shorts that short in 1993, least of all yours truly!

I’ve been following pro basketball in Saskatoon since the Saskatchewan Storm of the World Basketball League came to be in 1990.

After the WBL folded before the end of the 1992 season, the next team to call the Bridge City home was the Saskatoon Slam, of the National Basketball League.

That league only lasted one full season, but the Slam beat the Cape Breton Breakers to win the NBL’s only championship in September of 1993. That would be the only pro hoops championship the province would see, until the Rattlers earned the 2019 CEBL crown.

Before the Rattlers arrived, Saskatoon had one more crack at pro basketball, when the Youngstown Hawks of the International Basketball Association (IBA) moved to the province and became the Saskatchewan Hawks, playing the 2000-01 season in the IBA, and the 2001-02 season in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA).

But, the team was poorly run, and folded at the conclusion of that season.

Another fun fact, I saw my first-ever NBA game at SaskTel Centre (then Saskatchewan Place), when the Seattle Supersonics took on the Denver Nuggets in exhibition action in October 28, 1992, when the Sonics downed the Nuggets. Sonics star Shawn Kemp led the way with 24 points and 10 rebounds, while his teammate Gary Payton (a.k.a. “The Glove”) chipped in 16, to lead Seattle to a 107-89 win.

My cousin Derek and I had courtside seats right behind the Denver bench, and when second-year Nuggets star Dikembe Mutombo stood right in front of us in all of his 7’2″ glory, we were in awe of Mt. Mutombo!

It was awesome!

I love to get to games when I can. I went to see the Raptors play the Phoenix Suns in 2014 in Toronto, and I even saw the Harlem Globetrotters in action when they made a stop in Yorkton several years ago at the Gallagher Centre!

I will be a hoops fan forever!

I leave you now with a highight reel from one of my favourite players of all-time, and one of the best in-game dunkers ever, the “Reignman,” Shawn Kemp! Enjoy!

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