A 22-year-old Nova Scotia basketball player made history this weekend.
Nate Darling, who hails from Bedford, stepped on the court Saturday night with the Charlotte Hornets and became the first Nova Scotian to play in an NBA regular-season game.
The shooting guard played four minutes late in the game in North Carolina, as the Hornets defeated the Toronto Raptors 114-104. Darling attempted one shot, missing a three-point attempt from 25 feet.
It was the first time in more than a year that fans were allowed in the stands, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s estimated 3,000 people were at the game.
Katherine Brien, the executive director of Basketball Nova Scotia, says the whole community in his home province is “riding a high” after Darling’s achievement.
“His commitment to representing his home is how young athletes in Nova Scotia will start to view their own basketball dreams as possible,” she told Global News.
“If Nate can do, they can do it.”
Brien notes Darling has been influential in Nova Scotia basketball throughout his career. In 2015, he was part of the provincial team that won gold at the U17 Canada Basketball National Championships, which were held in Halifax.
“Nate led all scorers in that game with 50 points and really captured the hearts of many in the Nova Scotia basketball community,” she said.
“I point to this story only because there are so many great athletes who choose different pathways in basketball and having Nate be a representative for our province, and he eventually represented our country, should be viewed as career highlights for any young athlete.”
Brien says she hopes Darling’s success will “build on the growth” of the sport locally. She points to up-and-coming players and fellow Nova Scotians, Lindell Wigginton and Daneesha Provo as examples of further inspiration.
“We saw what happened to the country when the Raptors won a championship and now it’s happening in our own backyard. I hope the impact is parents sharing this story with their kids and their kids wanting to play basketball, so our sport grows and thrives,” she said.