Josh Giddey is having an impressive rookie NBA season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, so it is no wonder journalists in the US are interested in his past sporting life.
The 19-year-old from Melbourne is Aussie through and through. He has previously said cricket is better than baseball, footy is better than American football, Tim Tams are better than Oreos and Vegemite goes better on toast than jelly.
During the recent NBA All-Star weekend, Giddey played in the Rising Stars game and was quizzed by an American journalist about his background in AFL.
The look on Giddey’s face was priceless as he smirked and had a bit of a giggle when a journalist asked, ‘What is Australian Rules Football?’
Giddey did his best to explain the sport of AFL to the journalist and this author thinks he did a pretty good job.
“I don’t know how to… you could say it’s NFL in terms of contact, AFL wears no protection, no helmets, no padding, nothing like that. You kick it around the field,” Giddey told the confused American journalist.
“You kick it through the middle of big posts and it’s six points. If you miss, it’s one point. It’s sort of like, it’s a complicated game. You have to watch it to understand it.”
The journalist seemed puzzled and replied to Giddey: “So, it’s not rugby?”
Giddey replied with: “No. It’s similar in some aspects but not really.”
In the interview, Giddey told the journalist that he was ‘pretty good’ at AFL to which the journalist replied with: “Are there positions in Australian Rules Football. What was your position?”
Giddey explained that he played ruckman and used the comparison between the centre position in basketball to a ruckman in Aussie rules given their required height.
The journalist seemed intrigued and asked Giddey if he had to hit people while playing as a ruckman.
Giddey replied with a smirk and a giggle as he replied: “Yeah you got to hit people, lots.”
Growing up, Giddey played as a ruckman for the Yarraville Seddon Eagles while also starring in high school basketball for the Melbourne Tigers.
Eventually, the former Adelaide 36ers NBL player had to choose between AFL and basketball after he was offered a scholarship with the NBA Academy.
“I got a scholarship offer to the NBA Academy when I was 15 or 16 and I was really good at football at the time. I loved footy and I wanted to keep playing it but I knew when I made that decision I had to part ways with one of the sports. It was tough I sat on it for a little bit but decided to stay with basketball,” Giddey explained.
After such a successful NBA rookie season with the Thunder and a US$6.3 million (AU$9.4 million) a year contract to his name, its fair to say Giddey made the right choice to pursue his NBA dream.