While the National Football League is the premier American sport – with the largest crowds – another popular sport is the National Basketball Association (or NBA) – which has on average the highest paid sportsmen. Both competitions are played in the winter, and both have two conferences: the National and American for the NFL, and the Eastern and Western for the NBA. Though both competitions have day and night matches, the NFL is more of a daytime game while the NBA is more of a night time game. At season’s end the leading teams from each conference make the playoffs. The NFL culminates with the global spectacle that is the Super Bowl – famed for its expensive advertisements and (sometimes controversial) half-time entertainments. After that, sportslovers get their playoff fix from the NBA.
The NFL has four Australian players: Jarryd Hayne (San Francisco 49ers), Jordan Berry (Pittsburgh Steelers); Brad Wing (New York Giants), and Jessie Williams (Seattle Seahawks, with whom he won a Super Bowl ring in 2013, but he is currently out with illness). Tom Hornsey is another player, but he is currently a free agent. Meanwhile, the NBA has seven Australian players. They are as follows:
Cameron Bairstow (Chicago Bulls): Made his NBA debut in 2014.
Dante Exum (Utah Jazz): Made his NBA debut in 2014, but due to injury he is unlikely to play in the current season.
Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz): Made his NBA debut in 2014.
Aron Baynes (Detroit Pistons) and Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs): When both were playing with the San Antonio Spurs, they lost the 2013 finals, but won the Championship in 2014. Mills is the second Australian indigenous player to play in the NBA.
Matthew Dellavedova (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Andrew Bogut (Golden State Warriors): Their teams played out the 2015 finals, with Bogut’s Golden State eventually winning the Championship.
So far this season Bogut’s Golden State has won all of its first eight games to lead the Western Conference – followed by Mills’ Spurs coming second, Exum and Ingles’ Jazz coming fifth, and Bairstow’s Bulls coming in sixth. Meanwhile, Dellavedova’s Cavaliers have won seven from eight to lead the Eastern Conference, with Baynes’ Pistons coming in fifth. So if these teams keep performing as they are, we may at least see Golden State, Spurs, and Cavaliers making the NBA playoffs in 2016. Another American Aussie sporting presence to look forward to after the NFL season.