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Gilgeous-Alexander wins Northern Star award as Canada's top athlete

TORONTO — Basketball star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has won the Northern Star Award as Canada's athlete of the year in 2023.

The honour is given out annually by the Toronto Star and voted on by sports journalists from across Canada. Gilgeous-Alexander is the second basketball player to win the award. Hall of Fame guard Steve Nash won it in 2005.

He beat out Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid, RBC Canadian Open champion Nick Taylor, hammer thrower Camryn Rogers and swimmer Summer McIntosh for the award.

The 25-year-old Gilgeous-Alexander, from Hamilton, was instrumental in Canada's men's basketball team qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics at the FIBA men's World Cup.

He was named to the all-tournament team after leading Canada past the United States to a 127-118 overtime victory in the bronze-medal game.

Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 24.5 points per game at the World Cup, fourth-highest in the tournament. He also averaged 6.4 assists.

He earned his first-ever NBA all-star selection and was named to the All-NBA first team last season as he averaged 31.4 points, 5.5 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals for the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2022-23.

Nash, Jamaal Magloire and Andrew Wiggins are the only other Canadians to be selected NBA all-stars. Nash (three times) is the only other Canadian to be named to the All-NBA first team.

Gilgeous-Alexander has kept that pace this season, averaging 30.5 points, 6.2 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 2.8 steals over 20 games for the Thunder this year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 11, 2023.

The Canadian Press