NBA players suit up for Canada’s World Cup bid
Kelly Olynyk of the Miami Heat could have been trying to squeeze the last gasp out of summer before another long NBA season tips off. Instead, the 27-year-old from Kamloops, B.C., and five other NBA players practised twice Monday in a Montreal university gym, lending their talents for the last time in Canada’s quest to secure a 2019 FIBA World Cup berth. “I always love coming out here, supporting my country and being able to put on that jersey and represent my country whenever I have the opportunity,” Olynyk said. Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph, Dillon Brooks, Khem Birch, and Justin Jackson make up the rest of the half-dozen NBA players on the Canadian contingent that includes mostly players toiling in Europe. Canada hosts Brazil Thursday in Laval, Que., to begin the second round of qualifying, then fly to Chile for a game on Sept. 17. This is the last qualifying window in which Canada will have its NBA players available.