TORONTO – Maybe it takes an NBA championship to save the game.
City staff in Toronto will no longer take down public basketball hoops at the end of the day. The decision Thursday comes after a video showing a municipal worker dismantling a rim and net sparked backlash online.
Mayor John Tory says the city should be encouraging kids to play basketball. He writes that he supports “positive, fun, healthy activities for kids” and the practice of removing the hoops at 6 p.m. has been halted immediately.
Two weeks earlier, the Raptors won their first title following an electrifying playoff run that united fans across the city.
The city government says in a statement it has long sought to balance the right to play basketball with right of nearby homeowners to enjoy quiet.
Canada Basketball, the governing body of the sport in the country, responded with the message “No rim. No history,” along with a photo of Kawhi Leonard’s rim-bouncing buzzer beater in the playoffs. The picture of the shot that beat the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round was edited to remove the rim.
“Everyone deserves the chance to play,” Canada Basketball tweeted. “Keep the nets up.”
When asked about the hoops being removed on a nightly basis, Raptors President Masai Ujiri was baffled.
“There’s been complaints about noise from basketball? Really?” Ujiri said. “They tried to take the courts down? Are you guys serious.”