An unlikely MBA star has has risen to fame. Nicknamed the “Delly” and “Outback Jesus” this bearded Australian with a knack for getting low down and, as a result, pretty literally and figuratively, dirty with the ball.
Called a basket ball revolutionary this Victoria native from Maryborough is making a serious impact on the Australian and world basketball scene with some of his court antics while playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
By NBA standards, he’s a short 6’4”, gawky and not a natural athlete, but experts agree he works incredibly hard and Australians are starting to take note of their fellow Aussie making an international name for himself just as Dante Exum did a few months ago and so did Patty Mills and Aron Baynes in last year’s NBA finals.
Is the ‘Outback Jesus’ the saviour of Australians basketball? Well, Aussies certainly hope so. The NBL (Australia’s National Basketball League) has been on a slippery slope since their “glory days” of the 1990s.
Australian basketball players are growing in popularity and while there are currently 7 Aussies in the NBA it is expected that there could be more than 10 natives from the land Down Under competing in the NBA within a year or two. This is supported by the Wall Street Journal article, “Why every NBA team needs an Australian.”
While Australia has never won an Olympic medal in men’s basketball the current ranking of 11th in the world means the team has the best chance yet taking an Olympic podium place.
When the Boomers take the court in Rio in 2016 it is possible that not one of them will be a current NBL player. In fact, several of them – like Delly and Exum – have never even played a game in the NBL.
“Delly, Mills, Exum and their fellow Aussies wear their national pride on their sleeves – sometimes literally. The Boomers abroad are marvellous ambassadors for our nation and terrific role models for young Australian basketball players. They are showing that the Australian style of play is among the best in the world,” says The Guardian
It seems Australian men’s basketball could in fact return their glory days, this time on international turf.