Joe’s Basketball Diaries Season 2, Ep. 2: Sport and Reconciliation

In the second episode of Season Two of Joe’s Basketball Diaries, host Joseph Wong sits down with retired Canadian basketball player Michael Linklater to reflect on his career and the impact basketball has had on his life.

A member of Thunderchild First Nation, part of Treaty 6 Territory, Linklater has become an advocate in the Truth and Reconciliation process in Canada and a role model for Indigenous youth.

“I think the first time I got asked to speak in front of an audience, to my peers, I was 16 years old,” says Linklater, who played with the Saskatchewan Rattlers in the Canadian Elite Basketball League (and went out on top after his team won the inaugural championship following his final game of professional basketball in 2019).  

“I was tasked with the responsibility of being a role model. It wasn’t something I had asked for, but it was something I took very seriously.”

The conversation between Linklater and Wong – U of T’s vice-president, international and a professor in the department of political science and the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy in the Faculty of Arts & Science – also explores the intersection of sports and reconciliation.

Linklater was named an ambassador for Nike N7, the company’s program to get kids in First Nations communities in North America more involved in sports, and was invited to the White House for the first ever Native American Heritage Month reception in 2022.

“I wouldn’t call it pressure …,” he says, “but there is a responsibility for me in terms of respecting and honouring my ancestors who were here before me and what they went through in order for me to be here today.”

Watch Joe’s Basketball Diaries S2, Ep. 2

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