Apr
03
2018
Volume
6-3

Catch You On The Rebound

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Don Scott spins the basketball on his index finger and then with wonderful dexterity, transfers the ball down the last three fingers, letting the ball fall off, only to catch it midair and whip it behind his back for a perfect pass to his waiting partner...his father Keith Scott.

The crowd applauds.

Keith showcases his own wizardry with the orange globe, maneuvering the ball around his body as if they were one together. He finally does a trick pass back that would even baffle a magician.

This impromptu Harlem Globetrotter-stylish routine was performed earlier this year at halftime of a Keyano College Huskies’ Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference basketball game when this writer asked Keith 82, and Don 51, to come out of the stands onto the hardwood.

A native of New Brunswick, Keith had made a living for more than 50 years playing comedy basketball with such barnstorming teams as the world famous House of David, Harlem Aces and Philadelphia SPHAS.

In fact, he would play in a game against the legendary Wilt Chamberlain, who was competing in his first month of professional basketball.

Keith would later go into a solo-act where he would play against high school players. Even into his 60s and 70s he would challenge elementary and junior high school athletes.

The secret, he said, “was to always let the kids win in the end.”

Don would join his father on some of those tours.

“He had a show team and I have some great memories and was fortunate to do it a bunch of times when I was in my early 20s,” recalls, Scott a local lawyer who was elected Mayor of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo in October, 2017. “I remember we did a tour of Newfoundland and New Brunswick and on the poster they showed me spinning a basketball and I was known as The Spinning Wizard.”

Such was his aptitude with the basketball, that, “I could spin two basketballs at once and spin the ball on most anything.”

A talented player who had the hops to dunk, despite standing a shade over six-feet, Don played two years for the University of New Brunswick in St. John Varsity Reds.

One of his fondest memories of the hardwood, were a back-to-back trick shots by his father.

“There were about 300 to 400 people at the game and he (Keith) took a foul shot backwards from the foul line and made it. And then the next shot he bounced the ball in and made it and the crowd went crazy!”

It was while studying at the University of Cambridge that a new sport became an integral part of Don’s life.

“I ended up going to England to study in my late 20s and that’s when I picked up badminton,” recalled Scott. “If you wanted to play sports there, it was really just soccer or badminton. So, I picked up badminton and we played every night of the week if we were inclined.”

He still finds time to play the sport at least three times a week.

“I always believe in the commitment to stay in some sort of shape and it is also a great way to meet friends.”

In his role of Mayor, he says: “I’m trying to promote sport, especially for our youth. We just had the Alberta Winter Games and I believe it was the best ever held.

“We are a real sports town and we have one of the best sports facilities in Canada with MacDonald Island. When people come here they realize how important a sports region we are.”

One final note.

Don’s father Keith is also known as “The Bear Man” in that along with bringing his basketball skills into the schools, he would bring his vast knowledge of bears, be they Black, Grizzly or Polar,  in which he has documented in photographs and video during his ventures into the wilderness.

Catch you on the rebound!

CURTIS J PHILLIPS

Curtis J. Phillips has been a sports journalist in print/electronic mediums since 1976. A strong advocate of volunteerism, he is a founding father of numerous local events and organizations including the Challenge Cup and Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame. Phillips is also recognized internationally as a sports historian.

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