By Jasminee Sahoye
The Bennetts have broken the stereotype associated with Jane /Finch and a single black mother raising her family in the neighbourhood.
Anthony Bennett, the first Canadian player to secure the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) first overall draft spot, who spent his early years in Jane/Finch, kept out of trouble by playing basketball and spending his spare time at the Boys and Girls Club in the area.
The Bennetts subsequently moved to Brampton and Anthony who is six-foot-eight, attended Harold M. Brathwaite Secondary School in Brampton and then secured a scholarship through basketball to attend the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
Last week, he returned to the Jane/Finch Boys and Girls Club where he met with young people in the area. It was at the club where his basketball potential was uncovered.
And his advice to the young people he met; “The most important thing is to stay in school and finish school. If you have a dream you can accomplish it.”
His mother, Jamaican-born Edith Bennett, a nurse, says Anthony has been an obedient child.
When Anthony was growing up, his mother worked two jobs to provide for her three children and she managed to keep them in the loop.
“While I’m at work, they’re at home and we communicate by phone, to let them know what to do and what not to do,” Edith said. “The thing is, they are the heroes, because they listen.”
She was with Anthony in the US when he was named to play in the NBA. “It was a proud moment for me,” she said.
The 20-year-old player joins an elite group of players selected in the top spot of the draft that includes NBA legends Lebron James, Magic Johnson, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
As we reported last week, during Canada Day celebrations in Brampton, the mayor, Susan Fennell, who had invited the basketball star to be her special guest, presented the key to the city..
“This is why it gives me immense pleasure to award Anthony, a local Bramptonian, with a Key to the City,” Fennell added.
Fennell concluded “All of Brampton wishes Anthony the very best with the Cleveland Cavaliers and we look forward to cheering him on during the NBA season.”