That orange blot on the globe you in the U.S. think of as Canada—if you think of it at all—takes some getting used to. Kilometers. Celsius. Salmon-hued $2 bills worth a buck forty-eight. But in the spirit of international kinship, look at life from north to south for a moment and consider an everyday American item like, say, an NBA team's dance squad.
In a land where Zambonis doing 360s is suitable between-period entertainment, booty-shaking can be a shock to the system. Canada doesn't shake its booty. Canada wouldn't know where to find its booty.
Or take NBA scoring. Fifteen hours after the Vancouver Grizzlies had tallied a near-record-low 62 points in a loss at San Antonio last week, one Vancouver radio caller complained that basketball has entirely too much of it. So don't think of the Grizzlies and the Toronto Raptors as expansion teams but as a transplant experiment. This is a test to see if a hot league can grow in a cold country, which is why we've recruited Vancouver guard Darrick Martin, who hails from Compton, Calif., to answer a few questions about his new home.
Q: Who's the prime minister of Canada?
A: Is it a woman?
(Jean Chrétien is not a woman.)
Q: How many provinces are in Canada?
(There are 10 provinces and two territories. Twelve is the answer to this question: How many points did the Grizzlies' top scorer, Chris King, have in the 111-62 loss to the Spurs?)
There will be lots of time for a makeup exam after the Grizzlies figure out that their city isn't Portland with a customs stop at the airport and that the sport they play was invented by a Canadian. James Naismith devised the game at the YMCA in Springfield, Mass., but he was from Almonte, Ont., and the Raptors and the Grizzlies both underscore the game's historical link to Canada. Toronto's 80-year-old consultant, John McLendon, has a brick from the original Springfield Y that he will donate to the Naismith Centre in Almonte. (If they need more bricks, the Raptors, who shot 34.6% against the Sacramento Kings on Nov. 8, can oblige.)