Rhonda Lee McIsaac —

Jay Liotta, fresh from a day spent with family, sat down to talk basketball and about returning to a country that has embraced their team like no other place. Last year’s final game saw the Lords of the Plains team lose 98 to 91 in the finals to the hard playing and energetic team from South Sudan. But they are back this year with their best game faces and snazzy threads with eyes on the winner’s circle.

What made you want to participate in this year’s WIBC?

The bitter taste of defeat! No matter how much you brush your teeth – it don’t go away!! Reminiscing about that final game, we just ran out of fire power. We got tired. They were some big kids on that team. They could shoot that ball. In that quarter, we blew out. We were first place losers.

How have you prepared for this tournament? Is there anything special about your preparations that would set you apart from other teams?

It’s the same as any other tournament. We work out every day in the morning, playing our games and preparing every day. It’s what we do.   

I didn’t want to really say this, but what sets us apart from everyone else is that …we swim with sharks. We stay in the deep end of the pool and swim with those things. (laughs)

You know that movie 300? Well, it’s in our DNA. We come from 300.  We’re the low key undercover Spartans! (laughs)

Have you prepared anything for the cultural portion of the WIBC?

No, we didn’t have the people from the tribe who are able to make it this year. But we are going to be sharing it on the court. We’re gonna be bringing it all out there, you’ll see it all on the court!

 Do you wish to say anything to the fans who will be watching or listening to the games?

Man, we LOVE the fans!!  They show us so much love and appreciation and we can’t come back fast enough. Be ready to watch some exciting b-ball this year! We’re coming to win it this year.

We’re bringing some new guys. Marcus, Luke, Bonzo, Jay, Big Nat, Lonnie and my cousin Craig.  

Pretty much the same team as last time. Thank you all for showing us some love. We don’t get that here. It was good to show the people here.

Is there a special story that you’d like to share with the fans about a member of your basketball team?

We’re just a collective bunch of Indian boys, just tryin’ to make it. A few of our players have been signed up overseas and that’s a big plus for us.  I mean, to do what they do and get paid for doing what they love – playing basketball.

We’re glad to be on that stage and we’re fixin’ to really do it. Our fans and family here, they liked the live stream and watching us play. The whole preparation with the WIBC organization and team is unbelievable. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.  It’s so good. All the love and support we get from western Canada and Haida Gwaii … especially Haida Gwaii.

My wife is coming with me. Our kids started school early on the rez here. My mom is flying from Oklahoma to watch the kids while we’re up in Canada. We’re gonna take the kids to Haida Gwaii one day. I want to move there. I mean, there are no mosquitos!

How’s the Saints looking this year? Looking forward to seeing Desi on the court! How is Scoops? SCOOPS YO!! Hope he’s doing real good. We will see you all on Tuesday. Thanks for this interview.


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