Luguentz Dort on Montreal Homecoming Rituals, Poutine and Shooting for Gold in Paris


From Montreal North to the NBA and now the Olympics, basketball guard/forward Luguentz Dort tells us why he swapped cleats for kicks and shares what’s on his travel to–do list.






Montreal, QC


Only look back to see how far you’ve come.

Luguentz Dort is one of few NBA players who can say they have made it from Montreal North to the league – and one of one on Team Canada’s roster. As a teen, “The Dortress” was one of the top high school prospects in the country. Now he’s a key piece of the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he’s earned a rep as one of the best defenders in the game. Alongside his Thunder teammate Shai Gilgeous–Alexander, Dort helped lead Canada to a bronze medal at the FIBA Basketball World Cup last summer and now looks to improve on that result in Paris as the men’s national team makes their first Olympic appearance in over two decades.

enRoute You started out as a soccer goalkeeper. When did you find your love of basketball?

Luguentz Dort When I started playing soccer, there was a basketball court near the field we practised on. From the net, I could see all my friends having fun playing basketball. So, I started playing both sports, but at some point, my mom said: You’ve got to make a decision. I chose basketball because it was what most of my friends played. That’s where it all started.

ER On social media, your bio reads: “Montreal North Made Me.” What does the neighbourhood mean to you?

LD I’m always proud to say where I’m from, and I want to represent. Montreal North raised me and built a lot of character in me as a person and in terms of how I approach things. Now that I’m older, I know it’s not an easy place. Growing up there prepared me for the bigger world.

July 2, 2024
The setting sun shining between the buildings of downtown Oklahoma
Oklahoma, United States   Photo: Karsten Winegeart

ER You made your NBA debut with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2019 and signed a five–year contract with the team in 2022. What’s it been like living in Oklahoma?

LD It’s been good. It’s a small town, and I’m not used to that, but I’ve adjusted pretty well. The fans and the organization have been great to me. I’ve grown and evolved there, and they’ve helped me to become the type of player that I am today. I’ve also come to learn about country music. I don’t know any artists, but I know how big they are on that.

ER What do you miss most about Montreal when you’re in Oklahoma and on the road?

LD I’m a big family guy, so my family would be first, along with my friends. Also, just speaking French. It’s so different to not speak French every day. Now that I’m in the U.S., I barely meet anyone who speaks French. When people realize that I speak another language, they’re so surprised. I miss the food, too. Every time I go home, I need my poutine.

ER Tell us about your flight home to Montreal after winning bronze — Canada’s first–ever FIBA World Cup medal — at the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup. What does it mean to you to represent Canada on the world stage?

LD I was wearing my medal the whole flight, and everyone was like: Who is this tall guy wearing a medal? When the Air Canada crew asked, I told them where I was coming from, and they were so happy for me. They gave me a shout–out and everyone on the plane cheered.

It was really fun, especially being the only kid from Montreal on the team. When you’re the only one representing the province, it’s huge. I take a lot of pride when I wear the Team Canada jersey and get to be a part of history. I can’t wait to do more and show the next generation that they can be a part of it as well.

ER Do you have any travel rituals before a big game or tournament?

LD Not really. For some reason, I don’t know why, I’m always last minute with my packing. It really doesn’t matter if I’m going away for a long time or not. I usually pack the day before or the day of travel, which is something I may need to change.

A basketball court in Montreal
Montreal   Photo: Eddy Lee

ER Last year the NBA commissioner floated Montreal as a possible expansion destination. What are your thoughts on Montreal becoming an NBA city?

LD All of that starts with the fan base. Every year the NBA comes to Montreal to give fans a chance to see a game, it mostly sells out. Montreal has so many sports fans, and there are so many talented kids coming out of the city now. The sport has been growing for a long time. I know the games would be packed and the fans would really love the team. 

ER In 2022, you launched the Maizon Dort Foundation to support and develop educational success for the youth in underserved communities. What was your motivation?

LD When I was young, I didn’t have a role model who made it to the NBA who could create an easier path or help me see things differently. Now that I’m in the position to be that person, I feel like it’s a great thing to do. To be able to set up camps and programs and show kids that anything is possible if they really believe it — it’s for that.

ER What advice do you give kids in Montreal North who have NBA aspirations?

LD I tell them to work hard, pursue their dream, and to not let anyone talk them down. Also, stay patient: Nothing comes right away. It’s going to take time, but if you put your head into it, it will happen.

Luguentz Dort passing a basketball under his leg

The Questionnaire

  • Window or aisle? Window. I like to sleep.

  • Best travel memory When I was around eight years old, I went to Haiti with my family for two or three weeks. I got to see where my parents grew up and meet cousins and extended family. As a kid, the experience was so nice and fun. It’s a trip that’s really stayed in my head.

  • Travel hack I bring a lot of clothes. I don’t pick my outfits; I just bring a bunch of stuff. When I get to my destination, that’s when I figure out what I’m wearing.

  • Bucket–list destination I want to go to Africa. I’m kind of going back into history and I feel like Senegal would be a good place to learn where I came from and all that. My family is from Haiti, and I don’t know where before that, but I would like to learn more about African history in general.

  • What’s on your travel playlist? I’m a big Afrobeats guy, so I’d need my Burna Boy in there. I’m a big fan of Drake as well.

  • If travel had Olympic sports, you would be a pro at... I’m a pro at getting to my gate. If I’m running late or cutting it close, I’m going to get there so I don’t miss my flight.