Magloire McHappy in T.O.

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:28 AM ET

It's springtime in Toronto. The sun is shining, birds are singing, leaves are emerging on the trees. And Jamaal Magloire is at home, literally and figuratively.

Toronto pulses through Magloire's veins.

Every fall when it comes time to rejoin the New Orleans Hornets, it pains the Toronto native.

"Well, I'm excited to be home," Magloire said yesterday before taking a shift behind the counter at a McDonald's restaurant at Finch and McCowan as part of McHappy Day, which raises funds for charities.

"I never want to leave. You guys have known from Day 1, I love Toronto. It's hard for me to go back to New Orleans in October. Hopefully one day I'll be here and be able to do this each and every month."

Toronto basketball fans would love for Magloire to stay, too. The Raptors could use the 6-foot-11 former NBA all-star, who will turn 27 on Saturday.

Of course, there's the small matter of Magloire being under contract with the Hornets for two more seasons. However, his name did pop up in trade rumours back when the Raptors were shopping Vince Carter.

"That would have been a great opportunity," Magloire admitted. "But everything happens for a reason and timing is everything in this business. My day will come when I will have my say and have an opportunity to play where I want. You know how I feel, again, about this city, the country and everything about this place."

While Magloire has not publicly asked for a trade, he'll go crazy if the Hornets have another season like this past one. The Hornets went a dismal 18-64 in their first campaign in the Western Conference and Magloire was limited to only 23 games because of a fractured right ring finger.

"It was the hardest thing I ever have had to deal with in my life," Magloire said. "I won two high school championships at Eastern Commerce and a (U.S.) national championship at college (Kentucky), so this basically was my first losing season.

"I never came out and asked for a trade. I don't think that's the right way to go about it, especially through the media. You know, just deal with things internally, always try to make a good situation into a great one."

Magloire said his broken finger is at "85%," and he did not rule out playing for Canada this summer at the qualifying tournament for the world championship.

"Leo Rautins (the new national coach) coached me in the past, at the national-team big-man camp," Magloire said. "I built a relationship with him then. If we can make it work, by all means, I would love and honour the chance to play. It's a possibility. (Rautins) and I have started the dialogue. That's the first step."

Elsewhere on the Canadian front, Magloire is thrilled that fellow Canuck Steve Nash won the NBA most-valuable-player award.

"I'd like to congratulate him, first and foremost," Magloire said. "That's a high accolade, being the No. 1 player in the NBA, and I'm glad a Canadian took it home."

Magloire would love to be the second Canadian MVP.

"Definitely," Magloire said. "It took some time for Steve. It didn't happen in the first four or five or six years. So I'm looking forward to my future and moving in an upward motion."

As Magloire prepared for the upward motion of flipping burgers, he explained why he took part yesterday.

"I think it's more important to me than anyone else," Magloire said. "The reason I say that is, I'm from Toronto and I feel like I don't have enough time in Toronto to contribute to the community like I would.

"I wish I were here 12 months out of the year, and not have to leave and come back. This is Scarborough, this is where I'm from. So the two or three months that I am here, depending on where we are in the playoffs, I just want to do as much as I can, when I can, in the city of Toronto, for the kids and for my neighbourhood."

For Jamaal Magloire, it always comes back to Toronto.

Maybe some day he will, too.


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