Tristan Thompson and Anthony Bennett go head to head in a dance contest at the Samsung Galaxy S5 skills competition held at the Hoopdome in North York. Raptors Cage catches up with Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers to talk about the Toronto Raptors being in the playoffs, basketball growing in Canada and the reason he plays basketball.
Q: Which team did you follow growing up?
A: The home team, Toronto Raptors of course! Vinsanity (Vince Carter), T-Mac (Tracy McGrady), Mighty Mouse (Damon Stoudamire), uhh Camby-Man (Marcus Camby), so that was my team the Raptors.
Q: Did they influence your choice to play basketball?
A: Of course. Growing up actually my first love was soccer, so I played soccer at an early stage in my life. But ya know once basketball became more entertaining and I started watching the Raptors games, it was actually Vince Carter in the slam dunk competition is what made me fall in love with basketball. Just the electrifying dunks, his activity, his greatness kinda made me fall in love with the game and that’s why I play basketball.
Q: Have you been following the NBA playoffs?
A: Yeah, I’ve been following a lot of playoffs. Follow the Raptors, I follow all the teams. I watch all the games. I’m happy for Toronto. I’m happy for the city…I know the city is behind them and that’s great for basketball in Canada.
Q: What can you say about the turnout, the crowds that we’ve seen shots of on TSN, ESPN, everywhere?
A: Yeah, I saw the shot above Maple Leafs Square and it’s kinda like it’s a (Toronto Maple) Leafs’ game. That speaks volumes about how much the league has grown. Maybe eight years back they could never do something like that in terms of the crowd being like that. It says a lot about our country and it makes me proud to be Canadian.
Q: People traditionally think of Toronto as a hockey town, do you see that changing or basketball growing at least?
A: I believe in the next 10 years, basketball will be the game of the world. If you look at the game of basketball its easy to play, it’s very entertaining, its people friendly so I think basketball is the lead sport of our generation.
Q: What are you doing this offseason?
A: Today we have a print with Samsung getting involved with the community event which helps build basketball in Toronto; and then for me personally trying to get better this year, working on my game. I’m in Toronto, spend time up here and just help out build the brand of basketball.
Q: What part of your game are you trying to work on for next year?
A: Just all around, getting stronger, learning the game more; defence becoming more of an anchor for team, offence just being there every night. Whatever my team needs me to do, I’ll be there to deliver.