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A Canadian Basketball Legend

A Canadian Basketball Legend

September 18th, 2015
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          MATIK MEDIA ENTERPRISES MAGAZINE Interview with Phil Dixon

 

Being the first to make a difference positively is a blessed things nowadays. Most leaders in the past and most leaders in the present share the same common goal and that is to simply lead the way with pride. A person who makes or discovers something new and makes something acceptable or puts into being popular for the good of humanity would be considered blessed person. Being a trailblazer is a distinct honor to have because a person that blazes a trail that guides others is truly a divine spirit indeed. Some would say a pioneer, being the first at do it period should be revered but in all truth, everybody has their own path to lead and we will all get there willingly by the grace of natural mystics.
Matik Media Enterprise Magazine is proud to highlight this week, a man of great character, a man that is as real as they come, the thriller and the basketball icon of our time Phil “The Thrill” Dixon. It is no surprise each and every week when we interview individuals that are special, it is interesting that each person is unique in their own way. This week is distinctively different because we are interviewing a man that has influenced a generation and has been a legend in his own right from the day he started to play the game of basketball, even today. Phil “The Thrill” Dixon has been that kind of guy they say comes once every 50 years. In fact people that were teenagers during the 80’s can justify this because they had witnessed something that has never been duplicated even up until this day. People in their late 40’s to Mid 50’s can tell you their own stories in what they witnessed but one thing is for sure, we won’t see this again in our lifetime.
It’s very amusing that you have some fellow ballers out there that hold grudges for what someone did on a basketball court, or individuals that are still jealous because they themselves never reached legendary status. Matik Media Enterprise Magazine employees that grew up in that time can tell you and have witness people trying to compare themselves to this icon because hearing his name, time and time again, being reminds of their mediocrity as a ball player makes them deal with the realities when they go to sleep at nights. We were all mesmerized back in the day of Phil “The Thrill” Dixon because we were witnessing history at its finest. It’s like an old tale from Hollywood, you love to hate that person that always seems to exceed your expectancies. Like Michael Jackson, Tom Brady, Jim Brown, or even Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain. The what ifs, or it could of been me or it should have been me. The one thing our NBA colleagues taught us at Matik Media Enterprises Magazine everyday is you don’t talk about the could, should or maybe because like an NBA scouting report it’s about what that person actually does and brings to the court. At the end of the day it is what it is, we got to figure a way how to defend and win games.
The fact is that in Canada in the 1980’s and early 90’s we didn’t have the television hype that surrounded grassroots basketball and going to play University in the United States was the road in making it out there in the world at that time. Some players got ridiculed for going south to the United States but for the most part some of the best players in Canada came from socio economically limited homes. Many players are bypassing staying in Canada for a chance to follow their dreams south of the border for champagne wishes and caviar dreams. They say the grass may not be greener on  the other side now more than ever before and at some point there has to come a time when that might change. Matik Media Enterprise Magazine stands by loyalty, character, leadership and to simply do the right thing. So if a child comes from a socio economical deprived home and he got great athletic skills, should he go to the States? Some say of course but there are some Canadian conservatives that would say stay in Canada and let’s start building an empire.  But the reality is we got to start at some point to encourage our athletes to stay here and it will probably take the next generation superstar to be that leader to stay in Canada so that the rest will follow. It’s more complex than this evidently but if Canada offered athletic scholarships and paid coaches a lot better, I think Canada would see dramatic improvements with our National Teams. A great example was the Spanish National Team who had a massive strike against too many foreigners coming to Spain and taking jobs that hindered some Spanish nationals from improving their game. The verdict was set and the Spanish players won, which was a decision from having 3 reserved positions on the team to 2 reserved positions on the team.  The results were tremendous and the Spanish is relishing in their dynasty by being a Top 5 basketball power in the world today. They say only 1% make it to the NBA and your chances are better to be a Doctor or a Lawyer than to even think about being a professional athlete.
Phil “The Thrill” Dixon came up in an era that fought hard to establish themselves to be successful and would eventually see the rewards years later from what a generationa sacrificed for the players that are reeping the benefits now in 2015. You got multimillionaire players that are turning down millions of dollars, you got over rated ballers that don’t have any heart and you got over confident players that have never even won a Championship.  Phil Dixon was a player ahead of his time during the 1980’s who averaged 50pp against some teams, who had a great offense game and defensive game to compliment his overall game. There is a sense of entitlement that generation “Y” is displaying today and it’s certainly not old school but somehow there are some ballers who have forgotten the word privilege. It’s a privilege to wake up in the morning, it’s a privilege to be able to walk, it’s a privilege to eat and it’s definitely a privilege to win. One of the characteristics that was never mentioned enough was the humbleness in Phil Dixon personality.
When an athlete gets hurt suddenly and has his/her God given gifts taken away or is forced to play out his/her career on 1 foot and then drop to averaging 30 points not 50 points, it’s got to make him/her humble. Being a basketball player isn’t the all and end all to life but giving back to your community is what a true basketball ambassador does. It’s about that personal journey in making it to your dreams that is really heartwarming and what people want to hear. It’s not what people do for you or what they can buy for you. Some people have positions in a company because of their buddy putting them there which is called nepotism. Matik Media Enterprise Magazine has a question for those who want to know. How does a turtle get on top of a chicken post? The answer is simple: He gets put there! The real question is how does he get down and move on with his/her life?

MM: Hello Phil, How are you bro? Thank you brother for taking the time to sit with Matik Media Enterprise Magazine today?

PD: I’m doing great. Glad to be here.

 

MM: Phil, for the players that have never seen you play but heard the stories. Can you give us a brief description of your game and tell us which NBA player in your opinion shares the same skills set as yourself?

PD: That’s actually a very good question. I was a shooter and spent a lot of time working on my game. Working on going left, working on going right. Dribbling in the dark, dribbling for hours or just thinking about ways to be better. I guess I was a perfectionist in some sense. I would say my game was quite similar to Mitch Richmond or Glenn”Big Dawg”Robinson. I was a strong 2 guard and my playing weight at the time was 225lb solid. If I had a smaller defender on me I would take it down low and post him up. If I had a bigger player that was defending me I would try and find ways around him by using my skills.

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MM: Let me ask you this right away. Who in your mind is the 5 greatest NBA player of all time?

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PD: For me I would break it down according to positions. At the center spot I would say The Diesel Shaquille O’neal no doubt. At the point guard position I would have to say Magic Johnson. At the 2 guard position I would have to say Michael Jordan no doubt. The small forward position I would say my main man Julius ”The Doctor” Erving and at power forward position it would have to be Charles Barkley.

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MM: Phil, you played 4 years with the Utah Utes now in the PAC 12 by then Coach Rick Majerus, God rest his soul, who was a great man. Can you describe what it was like playing for him?

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PD: I actually played at Utah for 3 years. I can’t say enough of Rick Majerus who in my mind was the greatest coach basketball coach ever. I have been to all the coaching clinics with Dean Smith and Rick Patino, but I haven’t seen a coach that could teach like Rick Majerus in all do respects to the other legendary coaches. My first game I played for Utah was against Simon Fraser University at home in Utah and I had 27 points, my second game I played for Utah was against Wichita State and I had 29 points. I think I still have the record to this day in Utah because I hit eight 3 points during that game and we won both games. I hit the most consecutive 3 pointers ever for Utah, I had a couple dunks and we were rolling. If I remember, it was Bobby Knight who called Coach Majerus and said “Rick this guy Phil Dixon will be in the NBA very soon”. This all happened before my injury that I had suffered in my leg which was definitely my achilles heel for the rest of my career.

 

MM: Some would say your most formidable years was with your high school at Bathurst Heights Collegiate in Toronto Canada playing under Mrs. Hooper and Mr. Bob Maydo. Can you describe breifly what was it like playing for Bathurst Bears under these 2 legendary coaches?

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PD: Well, I would always play against older players coming up and I would travel anywhere to get a game. Bathurst is where I started to fall in love with the game of basketball. I remembering coming to Canada on my 11th Birthday and at that time I was a soccer player. For me Bathurst Heights was the place I started to really fall in love with basketball because it was introduced to me by Mrs Hooper and Bob Maydo. Bathurst Heights really open the doors for me to the basketball world. Great times by two legendary coaches in Canada, no doubt.

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MM: I know 10 years ago there was a basketball tournament sponsored by NIKE called The Battle Ground which featured legendary players of the past like Shawn “Biggs” Green R.I.P, Michael Kennedy, Wendell Brereton, Keith Vassell, Kirk Salesman, Alex “Monster” Beason and many others. The Tournament Battle Ground was hosted in Toronto’s downtown area. Can you describe how did you manage to win this tournament, essentially on 1 leg against dozens of professional athletes who played all over the world at that time?

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PD: Thank goodness I still had my skills. I had to use my mind and dig deep into my psyche to get into my game face mode. I was a warrior and I put everything on the line in going into battle. It was truly a battle because I had opponents that tried to hurt me, and did anything they could to win. One time I remember an opponent throw a cheap shot at me and I was in visable pain, I tried to call a time out but of course that was in the heat of battle. I remembered looking at my son Jordan and I sucked it up and I eventually went on to defeating that player which was gratifying to me because if people only people knew the pain that I had to endure during certain stages of that tournament, it was incredible. Anyway, it was a great event and wish that they continued it because I thought it brought everyone together which is a blessed thing. I believe there was a NIKE Battle Ground Internationally in major cities around the world.

Watch “Nike Battleground: King of the World (2004)” on YouTube

MM: You have a very successful Basketball Academy called Mississauga Wolverines that has been in existence now for over 10 years and counting. Can you share with us your ingredients of success in maintaining such a program for so long?

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PD: Well I started my basketball The Mississauga Wolverines Academy in 2004 which serviced Boy’s & Girl’s from ages 5 years old to 18 years old. The one ingredient that I always lived by to this day is, surrounding myself with good people that want to learn and work hard to get better every day. I also had tremendous help from great coaches along the way but my good friend Delroy Wright has been there from the beginning when I started and I appreciate all my staff that sacrificed their time throughout the years. I couldn’t of done it without them. You can go on to my website for all the viewers that want to know more about my program at: www.mississaugawolverines.com We are still taking applications for our yearly programs and I am still teaching individual classes throughout the year as well.

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MM: Can you share with us some of the players that have come through your program, and how many athletes went on to College to get their degree?

 

PD: We have services and helped players move on to Universities in Canada, USA, Europe, Asia, Carribean and Africa. We thank the Canadian Government in assisting players that want to come to Canada to study and experiencing going to school in Canada. We have had players from Jamaica, St. Martins, Guadelope, France, Italy, and South America.

 

 

 

 

 

MM: During your era in the 1980’s and 90’s, can you tell us the Top 5 players that you have played with internationally or in Canada?

 

 

 

 

 

PD: Kobe Bryant (USA), Steve Nash (CAN), Shaquille O’neal (USA), Oscar Schmidt Brazil (Brazil) and BJ Tyler (USA)

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MM: This question is one of the most significant questions that I will ask you but I will ask you out of respect for you having played for Canada earlier on in your career. Can you describe in a few words what solutions and improvements that Steve Nash can make to help rectify the situation for qualifying for the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro Brazil?

 

PD: I feel the team is very young. Being a young team is the main thing that they will have to overcome. Once they get more experience playing in more tournaments together everything will fall into place for them. They will all naturally get better in playing in the NBA and staying positive they will do great things by 2020. I have watch some of the young players and I think the sky is the limit for them.

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MM: I know there are 2 notable players that you really like on the Canadian National Team and that is
Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Olynyk. Can you access both of these players game briefly and give us your opinions on what Basketball Canada can do positively in moving forward with the nucleus that Canada has cultivated?
PD: I think these 2 guys are the future for Basketball Canada in moving forward no doubt. Kelly is a soon to be NBA All Star, Andrew Nicolson works hard and has been a bright spot this summer and Andrew Wiggins will be a superstar  in a matter of time. They just got to continue playing together and commit to the program by coming back every year playing together.

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MM: Phil, Matik Media Enterprise Magazine has known you over 3 decades now and has valued your support to the City of Toronto and your diligent service to community building worldwide. In looking deep in your heart and speaking from deep within. Is there any regrets or honorable mentors that you would like to talk about that we haven’t discussed here today?
PD: I would like to acknowledge Eric Grizzle God rest his soul. Eric was the reason why I started to play basketball and watching him and the people that grew up in his era made me want to play better and to be the best I could be. These are the legends of yesterday that nobody talks about and has suddenly forgotten along the way. The guys who started it all before my generation and laid the foundation for the ones that are playing now in the NBA. We must not forget this, you got to remember where you come from and some people seem to forget and ride people’s coat tails to be recognized. Just be real and the real people who were pioneers know what I’m talking about.

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MM: From now until 2020 will be a pivotal time for Canadian basketball players to make a huge improvement internationally for getting back our respect in being ranked in the Top 10 World rankings again. What do you feel is necessary for Canada to do in order to reach their goal in being a Top 10 power in basketball internationally?
PD:  Well they should learn from other countries that were in the same boat like Argentina, and Spain. It’s basically a commitment from the nucleus of players to stick together and play together. I truly believe that by 2020 Canada will be in the Top 5 powers of basketball elites.

Well that about does it for this session with Phil Dixon today.  Everybody at Matik Media Enterprises Magazine is greatly appreciated to have you with us today to share some insight of a true legend. We hope we will see you at the 2016 NBA All Star Game in Toronto. There is a lot of shameful things that we at Matik Media Enterprises Magazine see every day around the world with the illegitimacy of anointed ones that maybe an arm chair coach that think they are entitled. Though they maybe entitled to their own opinions but might have never played on an organized level in their lives we respect everyone who happens to be a  parent and who are lovers to watching a sport. That’s why Matik Media Enterprises Magazine feels it’s imparitive to educate the parents about the basketball  industry rather than collect the money quickly and give a pair of basketball shoes without teaching them the right values in life.  Parents should start asking what kind of qualifications does the person who is coaching you child have and most of all what gurantees are they going to have for your child. Our children are too precious to neglect the obvious questions and not put your child where the free shoes are going to be. Parents should always remember there is only a small window for mistakes and your children’s future is too valuable to just gamble or neglect. Get to know the person who has your child’s attention and get involved fully with all aspects of your child’s basketball programs. As we move forward remember to stay Matik and do something special for someone today in your community.

By: Martin Keane

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