In the sports world, patriotic displays are easy for some, more difficult for others.
New Zealand basketballer Issac Fotu put the fortunes of his country ahead of his own when he turned down a chance to become the next Steven Adams by attempting to earn a spot on the roster with the Boston Celtics of the NBA.
Adams, as many know, if a force with the Oklahoma City Thunder who put up absolutely ridiculous numbers for the team in last year’s NBA competition, averaging 33 minutes, 14 points, nine rebounds per game and a field goal percentage of 63.
Fotu decided he would rather support his Tall Blacks teammates in a test with China at Spark Arena and he contributed 15 points to his team’s cause in a 67 – 57 win.
Fotu would have been no lock to get a job in Boston, but if he had and did anything even remotely akin to what Adams has been and is doing, he could have found himself holding a pay envelope that would have bought several AFL sides.
The Celtics are title contenders, but they have lacked a dominant big, to the extent that two seasons ago, they were thought to be a leading pursuer of Andy Bogut.
Boston would have sent Fotu to test his mettle in the NBA Las Vegas Summer League. He turned down the offer because of the clash between schedules.
Asked by reporters if the choice had been a difficult one, he said, “Not really. I thought about it for 1-2 seconds and then realised how much I love playing for this team, playing with my brothers and we had a home game in Auckland in front of my friends and family. To be honest, it didn’t take long at all to decide that.”
There is some question about whether his decision to snub the NBA might result in his never getting the chance again in the future, but given the insatiable demand for talented bigs in the NBA, Fotu should be the object of desire of NBA clubs, particularly in Adams continues to exert his dominance.