It’s been over two decades, but the legacy of the Team Canada men’s basketball team and their performance at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, remains. For Rowan Barrett, a long-time member of the national team and currently their general manager, the story begins back in 1992. It was the first time he met a point guard from Victoria, B.C., named Steve Nash.
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Nash’s family moved to Regina, Saskatchewan, when he was 18-months-old before eventually settling down in Victoria. Nash loved playing soccer growing up and started playing basketball in his pre-teens. He was set to play college basketball at Santa Clara University in California in 1992 while Barrett attended St. John’s University in Queens, New York. It was the perfect alignment. Nash being the prototypical outdoorsy type and Barrett being the city kid.
Both players made the cut for the national program and trained together for the first time at the University of Toronto’s Erindale campus. They quickly became close friends. The two roomed together and hung out all the time. Nash even got special permission from his parents so he could stay with the Barrett family whenever he was in Toronto. Barrett’s grandmother Sybil Lodge owned a Jamaican food-catering company and would regularly provide her grandson with plates of food. It was a natural way for Barrett to bond with Nash, his teammate. “Man, he wanted that spice,” Barrett recalled. “We’d get some beef patties and jerk chicken. He always seemed to get the jerk chicken, the curry chicken. He had an open palate.”