Nowadays, Canadians are more than just guests in the house of elite basketball. They have kicked the front door down, claimed a room, and are looking at remodelling.

Tune into the NBA and you can cheer on the likes of Kitchener’s Jamal Murray, Toronto’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Mississauga’s Dillon Brooks. Interested in the WNBA? Kia Nurse, Kayla Alexander, and Bridget Carleton are running the floor in a league exploding in popularity. As long as COVID conditions allow for it, they will be brandishing ‘Canada’ across their chests at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics with the goal of bringing home a medal.

Canadian basketball resides in the global spotlight now, but it is built in gyms across the Great White North. The men and women who are leading the charge around Canada have a lot to stay about where basketball is in 2021, where it has come from, and where it is going. Every area has its own basketball identity and reputation—as well as unique advantages and challenges to developing its players. Long winters and limited facilities mean a fight for gym space for all sports in the Ottawa area. A smaller population means increased travel for players from the East Coast.

Meanwhile, the prep program that is front and centre right now producing Canadian basketball talent is housed at the Athlete Institute in Orangeville, Ontaro. Led by Tony McIntyre, Orangeville Prep has become one of the top basketball development programs in the world since it began in 2010. The program’s success is the subject of a CBC Original documentary series that premiered this month. Anyone’s Game brings into focus the type of fiery basketball environment in Canada that breeds elite competitors.