Written by Carson Deveau | Edited by Spencer Fry
Photo by Paul Morris
On January 26th, against the St. John Edge, Halifax Hurricane's long-standing point guard, Cliff Clinkscales, achieved history, as he became the first player in the National Basketball League of Canada to reach 1,500 career regular-season assists.
Cliff was signed by the Hurricanes in 2014. From the 2015 – 2018, he averaged 440 assists per season for the team. Cliff has gone from a point guard in South Jamaica, Queens, New York, to becoming the NBLC's, and Halifax's, all-time point god.
"First off, I feel so blessed just to be playing the game that I love, and being able to make a career of it. Secondly, I am also blessed to have played with some amazing players here in Halifax that were great scorers, and made my job as a point god so much easier"
Cliff has been in love with the game ever since he was three years old, when his older sister, Kema, first put a ball in his hand. And ever since then, he hasn't been able to put it down.
As mentioned earlier, Cliff grew up in section of Queens, New York, called South Jamaica, and played basketball all throughout school growing up. To the surprise of many, Cliff actually had a score-first mentality during his early playing days, as he was considered not only as the best player at his school, but was regarded as one of the best players in the state for his age. It wasn't until he entered the sixth grade that he began to develop the pass-first mindset that Hurricanes fans know of today.
"I started playing with this team called "The Panthers", that was a made up of all the best players my age, in my community. I had joined the team late, and they were already very good and very talented, so I just wanted to fit in. So, my main focus was to just make good passes, and make the game as easy as possible for my teammates."
That focus clearly translated to the NBLC, as Cliff has earned the nickname "Da General" over his years with the Hurricanes. This is due to his ability to control the pace of the game, and to get all of his teammates involved in the offense, every single game.
But, even though Cliff has now established himself as, perhaps, the greatest, and most willing, passer in league history, he's not taking time to relish in his accomplishments. Cliff wants to establish himself as something else in league history – a two-time champion.
"I'm going to be honest, it's cool and all that I did that, but all I care about is winning. I don't really care about my stats, I just care about wins."
Not only does Cliff care about winning, but also he cares about winning in the city that adopted him, and the city that has become his second home – Halifax.
"I want to win another championship for the city. I have only ever played for Halifax since I entered the league, and that won't change, as I will never play for another team. My heart is here in Halifax forever, and I want to bring them another title."