Sir returns in new colors and he might just be Mongolia 3x3's missing piece
ULAANBAATAR (Mongolia) - Yessssir! He's back! And sniper Steve Sir is ready to once again terrorize opponents from deep while on a brand new mission to power fan favorite Mongolia into a 3x3 powerhouse.
The Canadian 3x3 legend - who might be the greatest shooter in history and jointly holds the shootout contest record - will be player-coach for everyone's favorite underdog Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy at the FIBA 3x3 World Tour this year.
Sir will also be a coach and director of player development for Mongolia's national teams, including the men's and women's teams who hope to make a serious tilt at the FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2022. His return on the court might come as a surprise to those who watched his emotional sendoff at last year's Montreal Masters but Sir insists he had never left the building officially.
"Covid had affected sport in Canada so much that we were barely able to train and it got to the point last year where I felt like my time in 3x3 was coming to an end," he said. "I was like 'how can I keep playing because the talent level keeps growing'."
But his starring role for Canada at the inaugural FIBA 3x3 AmeriCup 2021 answered any lingering doubt.
"I still felt good," Sir said. "I still love to play and compete. The big challenge will be to see if I still can and that inspires me to work hard."
After spending time in Ulaanbaatar last October helping out Mongolian 3x3, Sir built a chemistry with players and officials leading to his new gig where he will be based in Mongolia's historical capital for most of the year.
"To do this properly, we talked about the importance of being there," he said. "Relationships with players is important and being invested in their improvement.
"I've had a good relationship with (team delegate) Batt Gotov, who has been tremendous and a key in Mongolia's investment in 3x3 over the years. They are completely all in on 3x3. and the next step is building on that."
What Sir can bring on the court is quite obvious - strong leadership and, of course, laser precision from deep. "Shooting is something they have struggled with in the past," he said. "Being able to shoot the ball consistently from the outside is something I bring but also can help others get better at."
Even though he was a defacto player/coach/team manager at times for Edmonton and Canada, Sir now moves into coaching officially and hopes to take Mongolia to another level.
Mongolia's men team were memorably FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup 2017 champs on home soil followed by runners-up at in 2018 and 2019, while their women's played in the Tokyo Olympics - the first Mongolian squad to ever represent the country in an Olympic team sport.
"We want to play with toughness and togetherness," Sir said. "With Edmonton, we played fast which was a difficult style to play against. I hope to add that but need to find a style that suits.
"Hopefully we can raise the level of expectation and put pressure on players having to raise their game. It's a tremendous opportunity because they've already put the building blocks in place."
While Sir's priority is to lift Mongolian 3x3 to new heights - while reminding everyone he hasn't lost the shooter's touch - he is also relishing the cultural experience of moving to a country, which has a population of just 3.3 million, far different to his homeland.
"It's very different to being a city slicker in Edmonton," he said. "In Mongolian culture, they don't just let anyone in. The level of sharing and caring is very inspiring.
"It's a very insulating and loyal culture. Being a basketball nomad myself, there was a commonality between groups."
Making the journey even more special, Sir will be joined in Mongolia by his wife and daughters aged 10 and 6.
"I'm excited that my wife and kids will have this life opportunity," he said. "It will be an amazing cultural experience and hopefully I can also positively contribute to Mongolian 3x3."