Talkin’ Hoops with the voice of the Halifax Rainmen, Shaun “Mavs” Gillis

(Shaun "Mavs" Gillis interviewing Halifax’s Garry Gallimore)
The Halifax Rainmen and Haligonia are lucky to have a guy like Shaun "Mavs" Gillis call Rainmen games on The guy is both energetic and enthusiastic when doing play-by-play and makes the Haligonia broadcast enjoyable for the online viewers. He is passionate about sports and in addition to doing the play by play for the Rainman games, he has a full time gig at Sports Direct Inc. I asked "Mavs" his thoughts on this season’s Rainmen, his opinion on the possibility of Halifax moving to the NBA D-League and his starting five of the decade.
Romy ( You’re in your second season calling Halifax Rainmen games, how did you get involved with the Halifax Rainmen play-by-play with
Shaun “Mavs” Gillis: I’ve been involved with basketball for about ten years now, I started off as a public address announcer for the then UCCB, now CBU Capers in 2000. I was hoping to get a chance to become involved with the team in that position and thought it would have taken a year or two to get into a position like that. Two days after being on the campus I had the job thanks to my high school gym teacher Ron Shaw who was the assistant coach of the Capers at the time. After five amazing years there I learned a heck of a lot about basketball, got my education, and headed up to Halifax to get some more schooling. I took a year off from announcing basketball and I missed it so much that I got in touch with SMU about coming in and doing those games. SMU brought me on board and then the doors for doing some announcing around Halifax opened up and I was fortunate enough to have the Rainmen bring me in as their PA guy for the ABA season.
I was getting ready for the second season when Jenn Gillespe and Nancy Sheppherd asked if I would be willing to make the switch over to play by play for Haligonia. So far that move has worked out really well.
Romy ( What’s the meaning behind the nickname "Mavs"?
Shaun “Mavs” Gillis: The Mavs nickname started in grade 6 when I started to cheer for a team in Dallas called the Mavericks, you might have heard of them, well now you would have, but back in 93-94 the Mavericks weren’t a power-house they were more an outhouse. My reasoning for going for this team was because quite frankly, the 11-71 Mavericks seemed to have the same basketball skill level as me. Before I knew it I was started being called Mavericks for going for the team, it got shortened down to Mavs. Cut to scene two it’s been almost 15 years and I’m still called Mavs and the majority of people who know me don’t know my real name, and I still love the team.
Romy ( You’ve had the opportunity to see the Rainmen play a few early games this season, who has impressed you the most from this team?
Shaun “Mavs” Gillis: I have to say I have been impressed with Crookshank as it seems he’s been a guy who seems to raise his game every time the Rainmen or the league steps it up a notch. Now the next few games against Puerto Rico and Rochester are going to be a big test for number 20 so I’m excited to see what he can do against this next level of competition.
As for newcomers I’ve liked Adris Deleon coming off the bench for a great spark of energy and Desmond Ferguson has really lived up to the hype as a three point specialist.
Romy ( In your opinion, what do you think will be the Rainmen’s biggest weakness this season?
Shaun “Mavs” Gillis: Right now it’s been free throw shooting for the Rainmen that’s been just getting everyone in the building hair standing up. They have been leaving way too many points on the line.
Romy ( Halifax has had its share of pro basketball with the Halifax Windjammers back in the 90’s and now have the Rainmen into its third season. Why is Halifax such a good market for a pro basketball team? And do you think the Rainmen will ever move into the NBA D-League?
Shaun “Mavs” Gillis: Halifax is a great basketball city, we hosted the CIS nationals for 24 years, there’s an excellent tournament every May in the Black Basketball tournament, two university teams, a few college teams and a very competitive high school league. With such a great basketball structure in place a professional team that showcases the game at a very high level will always have a home in this city.
As for the D-League, I hope it happens, right now the team is in a great league in the PBL and we’re very fortunate to be in this league but the D-League would be amazing. When people talk about the D-League and Rainmen, I feel strongly that this team needs to pick the right NBA team to be affiliated with if we do make the jump. The team that does make the most sense in my mind is the New Jersey Nets, not the Raptors. I feel a Raptors affiliation would have the team in Southern Ontario sooner rather than later.
Romy ( You’re a big sports fan, who have been some of your favourite sports play-by-play guys?
Shaun “Mavs” Gillis: Kevin Harlan has been a guy I’ve been really liking the last few years, now sure him and Marv Albert are very similar but that’s a good thing cause Marv is the best. I do listen to a lot of sports talk radio and I’m a fan of Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo as well as Scott Ferrall from the Howard Stern channels. Ferrall might not be the best guy for kids to listen to however he is entertaining for an older crowd.
Romy ( Lastly, let’s hear your ‘Starting Five of the Decade’ (2000-2010) for the NBA.
Shaun “Mavs” Gillis: Starting five for the decade at the point Steve Nash, two guard Kobe Bryant, the three Rasheed Wallace, at the four Ze German Dirk Nowitzki, and at centre Shaq. As well I’d put Mark Cuban as the owner, Don Nelson as the coach, sixth man Paul Pierce, announce team Marv Albert with Doug Collins, and Craig Sager on the sidelines. Half time entertainment will be provided by Todd MacCulloch playing pinball.


A huge thanks to Shaun for taking part in our Q and A, be sure to check him out during the live online broadcasts of Halifax Rainmen home games on!

Check out previous Rainmen-related Q and A’s:


Romy Aquino covers the pro basketball game (the Canadian Flavour of the NBA, the PBL’s Halifax Rainmen) from a fan’s perspective.  He also can be found at NBA hoops blogs, Hip Hoop Junkies (A Member of’s Sports Federation) and Hoop Heads North.  Follow him on Twitter: @romyaquino

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