Standin' tall with Jamaal
Staff at Head Office got a chance to meet up with Toronto Raptor Jamaal Magloire recently. He returned to thank the TTC for marching with his Toronto Revellers in the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Grand Parade last month. The visit turned out to be a chance for Safety’s Bem Case and Legal’s Steve Anderson to recall their school-days connection with Magloire.
Case: “When I first met Jamaal, I was in college and he was still in high school. He was just a little kid at the time – you know, six-foot-eight-inches. For a short while we played basketball at the same after-school gym program at Eastern Commerce (Eastern was his high school; Oakwood had been mine). There had been a long-standing, good-natured rivalry between Eastern and Oakwood. Later we went to Trinidad together as members of the Ontario Basketball Association’s team to play against Trinidad’s national and regional teams.
“It was clear to everyone at the time that Jamaal was headed to play in a division-one college team and that he had the potential to make it to the NBA. Jamaal was already a star in the amateur basketball world, but still he was a relatively quiet and respectful kid. In the minds of those of us who were a bit older, myself and his coaches included, this added to our hopes that he would make it.
“It was really incredible watching from a distance as Jamaal excelled. He stayed out of trouble, did very well in college, made it to the NBA, did well in the playoffs, and all the while he maintained his connection with Toronto. He was known to be generous to his family and friends. He has become a role model to youth, particularly those “at risk”. I was glad to see him because it had been so long and I had been waiting for a chance to tell him how proud I was of him. It wasn’t for his success in basketball that I was proud of, it was for the positive example he sets outside the gym.”
Anderson: “Back in high school, I played basketball at Runnymede Collegiate and Jamaal played at Eastern Commerce. I followed his career from there. Similarly, we grew up in our respective “at risk” neighbourhoods (I in Jane and Finch and he in Malvern I believe). We were able to stay away from crime and gangs and make something of ourselves. In addition, he does great community work with youths, and I do similar work in the Jane and Finch community by providing scholarships to youths at Shoreham Public School who demonstrate excellence in academics, sports and community service. In fact, I spoke to Jamaal about this and he seemed very interested in participating in this program.”
Congratulations were extended to the TTC’s Caribbean Carnival volunteers: Tracey Brown, Maureen Grey, Patricia Thomas, Cecil Manbahal, Fred Sottile, Edmond Olorunfunmi, Patrick Bygrave, Jamal Richarson, Cecil Manbahal and Shane Sayers.