June 21, 2024

Hogan: A Family of Champions

At the seconds ticked down on the clock, Dejon Brissett sat alone in his house watching Game Five of the NBA Finals, excited, and waiting for the inevitable to happen.

The Boston Celtics were having their way with the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night, en route to a 106-88 victory and their 18th NBA championship. When Payton Pritchard hit a mid-court buzzer beater at the end of the first half giving the Celts a 21-point lead, it was apparent they would claim the championship on their home court.

For Brissett, he was watching his brother Oshae capture another ring for the family as a reserve forward for the Celtics.

Their mom was in Boston to experience the win, so the Toronto Argonauts receiver was able to concentrate on the game in solitude. It wasn’t until the game was over that his phone “started blowing up.”

With the win not in doubt in the dying moments, Brissett was looking for one thing.

“I wanted Coach (Joe) Mizzula to put Oshae in,” he said, speaking through a beaming smile. “I wanted Oshae to get in there and get some last-minute buckets. He was on the floor at the end of the game and that was fun to watch, a very special moment for him and for the family.”

Dejon is just shy of his 28th birthday, two years older than his brother, but half-a-foot shorter than his 6’7” sibling. The pair grew up in Mississauga, active in all sports, honing each other’s skills by playing everything together.

Who was the better athlete of the pair?

“I was better,” Dejon he said, still smiling. “I was better, and I’ll say that to his face. He’s better now, obviously, but basketball? I had it. He might have had soccer, he loved soccer. But everything else? I probably took the cake. Everything.”

But as in many cases of sibling rivalry, at some point the younger brother surpasses his elder. Dejon said there came a time when he knew that not only was Oshae really good at basketball, but he also had a shot at doing some pretty special things in the sport.

“When he went to Finley Prep in Las Vegas and he was there with guys like Dillon Brooks and Kelly Oubre and P.J. Washington, that’s the company that sets you up. He was a little pup when he was there, and he learned from them. When he got an offer from Syracuse, I thought he might be something. As a rookie he had a great year and that’s when I knew that he could make it to the NBA.”

Sadly, the brothers couldn’t be at each other’s championship win. Dejon is prepping for the Argos game against Edmonton on Saturday, while Oshae was in mid-season when Dejon won the 2022 Grey Cup.

The brothers don’t want to settle for one championship each.

“Boston just won their 18th rings, and we won our 18th ring when we beat Winnipeg, which is pretty cool,” Dejon old Argonauts.ca. “Now, he wants one where he’s more involved, and I want one where I’m more involved. It’s my turn now to go get one where I’m more involved, then he’s going go ahead and do the same thing.”

Dejon is doing his part. He set career highs last season with 38 catches for 594 yards and 5 touchdowns. He’s once again a starter in this year’s offence and led Argo receivers with 52 receiving yards on 3 catches, including a TD grab, in the season opener against BC.

There’s something else Oshae would like to do before winning another NBA ring, and that’s win an Olympic medal. On Wednesday it was announced that he was one of 20 players invited to compete for a spot on the Canadian Men’s National Team.

It’s rare that brothers both play pro sports, even rarer when they play different sports professionally, but the Brissetts have pulled it off and are thrilled with each other’s success.

“We’re both cheering each other on and are proud of each other.”

And with good reason.