Unveiling the Journey Behind the Growing Popularity of Basketball in Canada

While hockey, lacrosse, and curling remain historically the biggest sports in Canada, there’s no doubt that Canadian basketball is reaching never-before-seen heights. Some analysts even feel the NBA could compete side-by-side with hockey over the next several decades in Canada.

In 2014, Tim Leiweke predicted that the Toronto Raptors would be the most famous sports team in a decade. Nine years later, Leiweke’s prediction may have looked a little too ambitious; however, it’s clear that the face of Canadian sports is changing completely.

And Leiweke’s predictions are reasonable enough. Since a Canadian invented North America’s favorite sport, there’s no reason why basketball, invented in Canada, shouldn’t become the most popular sporting event in the country.

Straight to the issue under discussion: What’s behind the evolution of basketball in Canada? What are the hopes of the sport for the North American nation?

Reasons Behind the Growing Popularity of Basketball in Canada

No doubt, the fame of basketball continues to rise in the Great White North. According to Dmitry Rogalchuk, the head of content at CasinoCanada, and the various discoveries from studies and research, below are some of the reasons for this appeal.

1) NBA Culture Appeals to Canadian Millennials

The NBA brings a distinct culture to the sporting world, compared to other sporting activities in North America, which appeals to Canadian millennials. In a recent survey, over 1,500 Canadians were interviewed about the sport they want their children to play excellently. Most respondents picked basketball, while only 19% said hockey.

The same survey showed that millennials were seven times more likely than baby boomers to say that they watch basketball with their parents. Meanwhile, another research by Solutions Research Group revealed that the second-most famous sport in Canada is basketball, second only to soccer (and way ahead of other sports).

With the growing popularity of basketball, it comes as no surprise that the world of online gaming has embraced this trend, offering thrilling basketball-themed online slots that are sure to captivate gamblers. If you're curious to discover which Canadian casino online is the best? For basketball slots, look no further than the Casinocanada website. This comprehensive platform provides valuable insights and information about the captivating world of Igaming, ensuring you find the perfect destination for an immersive basketball gaming experience.

2) Immigration

About one in five Canadians are foreign-born. After Canada amended the Citizenship Act of 1977 legislation to allow foreigners to become Canadian citizens, it saw increased immigration of foreigners into its borders. A 2014 study showed that basketball had overtaken soccer as the favorite sport among immigrant children, as over one million immigrants move to Canada every four years.

To put this in perspective, you want to take a look at the finest players in Canada. South African-born Steve Nash, a two-time MVP, grew up in British Columbia before moving to the U.S. Jamaal Magloire was born and raised in Toronto to Trinidadian immigrants, while Anthony Bennett’s Jamaican mother settled in the country.

Canada Basketball
(Image Credits: CanadaBasketball)

Andrew Wiggin’s mother is Marita Payne, a Canadian Olympic sprinter originally from Barbados. Melvin Ejim has deep Nigerian roots, while Nik Stauskas’ is linked to Lithuanian roots. Not to forget that many first-generation Canadians are second-generation Raptors fans who never knew a nation without the Raptors. Lastly, Nav Bhatia, a Sikh immigrant, and Canadian businessman-turned-sports celebrity, testifies to how basketball accelerates immigrants’ assimilation into Canada - better than other sports in the country.

3) The NBA and National Teams

The NBA has existed in Canada for less than three decades, compared to other sports that have gained entrance into the North American nation since its over 150-year history. Nevertheless, the NBA has inspired a new wave of NBA players of Canadian descent.

The Raptors, who were established in the country in only 1995, have the third-highest attendance in the league. Meanwhile, Forbes evaluates the only NBA franchise in the country at $3.1 billion. And Canada has become a first-round pick in recent years, with the Greater Toronto Area registering back-to-back No. 1 – overall picks in NBA draft history, a feat never before seen in the same U.S. city or state.

In the women’s NCAA, there were Canadians on each team in the Final Four, with impact men’s players scattered throughout the tournament. There certainly have never been more Canadian NBA players on the scene, plus rising Canadian WNBA stars like Kia Nurse and Bridget Carleton. Nationally, the women’s team is an Olympic medal contender, ranked fourth by FIBA. The men’s category has about the same status.

And now, it’s a wrap. If you’ve ever wondered, ‘Where was basketball invented in Canada?’ or ‘Why is basketball gaining popularity in Canada?’, you clearly have answers now. Basketball followership in Canada has steadily grown from a sports niche to a national obsession over the past years.

Moreover, changing demographics have shown that basketball's popularity is only bound to rise. That means it shouldn’t be surprising if our grandchildren’s grandchildren learn to play basketball before they learn to skate.

Cover Credits: BasketBallCanada

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