By his own admission, David Dorward wasn’t made for basketball – not as a player, anyway.
A tad short at the end of high school but still drawn to the game, he took to refereeing instead. Given where that led, however, perhaps that slight remove allowed him to better see the impact the game can have on players’ lives.
During that time and the years following as a coach, Dorward saw basketball as a way to reach less-privileged young people. “I used the game to encourage kids to stay in school and do well,” he says, “and hopefully make the next team as they go through life.”
To that end, he boosted access to the sport by founding the Saville Community Sports Centre (Go Centre). The multi-function south Edmonton facility features as many as 12 hardwood courts and is home to local heroes kids might emulate: the players of the International Basketball League’s Edmonton Energy.
Recently, Dorward has had to step back from his beloved game.
Elected April 23, he’s now in his first term as MLA for Edmonton-Gold Bar, a neighbourhood he has lived in for more than half a century. Unlike point guard, politician is a position for which he’s perfectly suited.
From building his chartered accountancy firm, he’s got a solid understanding of complex finances. He’s energetic to the point of making social activism look like athleticism. Most importantly, he feels as personally invested in the role as he did courtside.
“To be able to serve the people in the area you grew up in is a real thrill,” he says.
— Scott Messenger