Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson recently spent a day in Toronto participating in "Healthy Me'' Week and running a clinic at a YMCA to promote physical activity.

He will be hosting one of the Cavs overnight basketball camps at Baldwin Wallace from July 7-11.

Those are the sorts of community service events Thompson was honored for last season, when he was nominated for the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award presented by the Pro Basketball Writers Association.

While Thompson's commitment to community service is well-documented, he also is an unofficial ambassador/cheerleader for Canadian basketball, which has become a growing presence in the NBA. At the end of last season, Thompson was one of eight Canadians on NBA rosters, one of five drafted in the past two years. Three Canadians -- Anthony Bennett, Kelly Olynyk and Myck Kabongo -- have declared for the 2013 draft, and Bennett and Olynyk are projected as lottery picks.

Thompson credited Steve Nash with popularizing the sport for his generation.

"Seeing is believing,'' Thompson said. "Obviously, Steve Nash making the NBA and becoming a two-time MVP gave us the hope that if we work hard, we might have a chance to just be in the NBA. Seeing his success gave us hope.''

Bennett said the the usual route took the players to the U.S., “The prep school and the AAU circuit helped,'' he said. "Now they go play AAU at a young age, so you get exposure.''

Now Thompson said increased exposure in the mainstream media, as well as social media, has helped fuel the recent boom, one that he hopes will enable Canada to contend on the international level.