Aussies in NBA: Jingles - Dante Exum's childhood idol?
Aussie Boomer and Utah Jazz wing Joe Ingles was the latest guest on Adrian Wojnarowski's The Vertical Podcast, and discussed a variety of subjects, including the difficulties that he's faced as a role player in the NBA and how the Aussies in the NBA are a tight group of comrades.
More interesting than anything else though, was the revelation that he was Utah teammate and fellow Aussie Dante Exum's favourite player growing up!
Wojnarowski dropped another of his patented (if lower payload) #wojbombs, easing into the topic by first talking about how Ingles was first released by the Los Angeles Clippers then picked up by the Jazz. "Dante Exum was their number one pick, he’s a big part of their future here. Here was a teenage player from Australia who was going to be all alone in Salt Lake City and it didn’t hurt that you were his childhood idol, right?"
"This is true, he had my jersey. He still claims to this day that it was someone else’s and he was just wearing it that day but I was his favourite player." Jingles deadpanned.
"I played in Melbourne, where he’s from. I was playing for the [South] Dragons and he was 10, 11, 12 [years old] and he was coming to our games obviously. He tries to say that I wasn’t his favourite player, that he liked the American players that we had. [But] somehow a picture of him in number 7, which was my jersey, popped up somewhere and he’s never lived it down since so…" You can easily imagine the smirk on Jingles' face as he says all this.
"[Exum] does, when you get him sitting down and you can have an honest conversation with him, he does say that he really liked the way I played. But now that he’s here and he’s a big NBA star he can’t admit it."
If Joe's words are anything to go by (and I find myself completely unable to disagree with him), Dante Exum must be living the life right now. Not only is he an NBA star, but he gets to play with his childhood hero! The rest of us can only dream of being so lucky.