The Great Canadian Hoops Hope
Despite a disappointing rookie season in the NBA, Anthony Bennett’s star couldn’t be any brighter in the impoverished Toronto neighborhood of his youth.
Photos by Marta Iwanek
The high-rise towers in Toronto’s Jane and Finch neighborhood stretch into the sky in shades of faded brown and gray, but at dusk, lit by the flame of the sun, they glow like the burning end of a match.
In February, the sun fades as the workday ends, and the Jane Street bus bumps down the snow-caked road, standing room only at six in the evening. It’s filled with chatter in different dialects — Jamaican Creole, Spanish, Portuguese. A reggae song plays on someone’s cell phone. The bus creeps forward, inches from the bumper in front of it. The wind pushes north up Jane, barreling past Finch Avenue.
In this corridor of northwest Toronto, there is hope and ambition, but the nuance of ordinary life rarely filters into the mainstream. The media comes around when another body drops, and it leaves shortly after. There is a history in Jane and Finch, an oft-told narrative that only further perpetuates the community’s problems — violence, gangs, poverty, isolation.
There are …