AP Photo/Michael Conroy
AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander named Canada’s Athlete of the Year for 2023

Basketball star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the 2023 recipient of the Northern Star Award as Canada’s Athlete of the Year.

The 25-year-old from Hamilton, Ontario is just the second basketball player ever to earn the honour, following in the footsteps of Hall of Famer Steve Nash who won it back in 2005.

Gilgeous-Alexander had an outstanding year — arguably one of the greatest ever in Canadian basketball — both while representing his country on the international stage and in his professional career.

He was an all-star guard at the FIBA World Cup where he put up 31 points and 12 assists in the bronze medal game as Canada defeated the United States to win its first ever medal at the men’s basketball global tournament. That came just days after he helped Canada qualify for its first men’s Olympic basketball tournament since Sydney 2000.

For his efforts with the Oklahoma City Thunder, he was named to the All-NBA First Team for the 2022-23 season after averaging 31.4 points per game. He’s off to a hot start to the 2023-24 season as well, with 30.5 points per game and a league-leading 2.8 steals per game.

It was a tough debate for the national panel of journalists who voted on the award which is administered by the Toronto Star. Gilgeous-Alexander beat out several worthy finalists, including hammer throw world champion Camryn Rogers, swimming world champion and world record holder Summer McIntosh, hockey star Connor McDavid, and golfer Nick Taylor who became the first Canadian in 69 years to win the RBC Canadian Open.