Kelly Olynyk explains why playing for Canada is special
Kelly Olynyk played a huge role in Team Canada’s 85-77 victory of Brazil in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifier. The Miami Heat forward led the way for Canada with 20 points and 19 rebounds. After the game, he told Lori Ewing of The Canadian Press:
“There’s something about coming home and being able to wear the red and white and Canada across your chest that kind of inspires you.”
Clearly, suiting up for his country means a great deal to Olynyk. There is a certain level of pride that comes from representing your country on the international stage.
Canada is in an excellent position to qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2019. Canada is currently 6-1 in group play and they look like the favorites to emerge from Group F.
Olynyk was joined by a few other NBA players, most notably Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson. Both Joseph and Thompson notched double-doubles as well. Joseph scored 16 points and added 10 assists while Thompson cleaned the glass with 12 boards and chipped in 10 points.
Many players are gearing up for training camp soon. That’s why many Europeans aren’t playing in their qualifiers. But for Olynyk and Team Canada, their game was played in Laval, Canada so they could play without worrying about traveling too far.
When Olynyk’s duties to his country are over, he’ll look to build off of a successful first season with the Miami Heat. The Canadian averaged career highs in points and rebounds. If his play against Brazil is any indication, he’ll be ready to go on opening night.