live Infotainment Factory: How Aussie's odd habit infiltrated NBA's new superteam

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Sunday, 25 August 2019

How Aussie's odd habit infiltrated NBA's new superteam


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One of the most intriguing teams in the NBA this season, the Brooklyn Nets, might have a much-loved Aussie basketball star to thank for an unorthodox pre-game ritual that's caught on in the locker room.

Before Nets and Team USA shooting guard Joe Harris arrived in Brooklyn in 2016, he was in Cleveland, alongside Australian Matthew Dellavedova.

Harris was a young guy at that time, drafted in 2014 out of the University of Virginia 33rd overall in the second round. Dellavedova on the other hand had been there since 2013, and Harris remembers fondly how the Aussie mentored him at the time.

"Delly and I got to know each other really well when we were in Cleveland. He kind of took me under his wing when I got there," Harris exclusively told Wide World of Sports while in Sydney ahead of Team USA's FIBA World Cup warm-up game against Canada.

"He was great in showing me the way of the NBA and his sort of independent, professional approach to everyday life in the league."

https://twitter.com/BrooklynNets/status/1165263695171203074

Harris said he knew of Dellavedova's role in the team, but never sought him out. It was purely by accident that they became close mates.

"We actually lived together in the same building, so just by being in the same building with the same schedule I would see him a lot and we just got on really well from the get-go," Harris said.

"We would go out to eat quite a bit and developed a really special bond."

Harris said the pair were "very compatible" personality-wise, and their mutual characteristics as hard-working but sometimes under-appreciated role players would no doubt have been another area where they could both relate to one another.

"I think it was just personality based," Harris said. "Delly is a very low-maintenance, easy-going guy. Easy to get along with.

"I got to know him really well, and his wife too. I was even at his wedding a couple of years ago."

Harris beside LeBron James in Cleveland

In Harris' first year in the league the Cavaliers went to the NBA Finals, led by the return of Cleveland hero LeBron James, and the addition of Kevin Love joining All-Star Kyrie Irving, making a formidable 'Big Three'.

Coming in as one of the best three-point shooters in his draft class, Harris played 51 games in his rookie year with limited minutes due to James and Love's arrival. He bounced around the D-League in between, but had a brief cameo in Game 1 of the NBA finals.

https://www.instagram.com/p/8MEaWiThyH/

The Cavaliers went on to lose that Finals series 4-2, but it was during that time that Dellavedova's peculiar pre-game ritual became a major talking point.

After playing a huge part in Cleveland's Game 3 win over Golden State, where Dellavedova had 20-points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists, he required hospitalisation for severe cramping from dehydration. Though Dellavedova later refuted it had any impact, his love of having a pre-game coffee was mostly blamed.

Like most Australians abroad, Dellavedova had great appreciation for a decent flat white. While most athletes go for electrolytes, maybe a light snack, or just plain old H20 before their athletic pursuits, an hour before every NBA game (and sometimes at half-time), Dellavedova preferred a cup of coffee.

"It gets me going. It's something I've always done," Dellavedova told Northeast Ohio Media Group earlier in that season. "Before competition it helps improves athletic performance, focus and all those type of things."

Harris watches as Simmons dunks during the NBA playoffs last season

He'd been doing it all year, and as much as it left media gobsmacked, his teammates were equally perplexed.

"That's some Australian stuff," then Cavaliers centre Tristan Thompson said of Dellavedova. "I can't do that. Whatever gets him going I'm rolling with it, especially if he's making them shots."

It was reported then that Anderson Varejao, who was injured at the time, would be known to source a cup of coffee for Dellavedova in the locker room before tipoff at games, so accepted was the Victorian's unshakable java habit.

By the following season, with Dellavedova now a cult hero in 'The Land' known for his determined, gritty, team-first efforts for the Cavaliers, the Aussie had his own brew 'G'Day Mate' made by Cleveland Coffee Company and sold around Ohio.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BHr7ntsgaQ1/

And so it was during Harris' rookie year that Dellavedova's Cavaliers buddy picked up the pre-game beverage addiction too.

"Oh yeh, definitely picked it up," Harris said.

"That's the thing… I actually copied Delly. So I would actually drink the coffees pre-game as well."

Fast forward to 2019, and Harris has been in Brooklyn for the last three seasons and even now he admits he hasn't stopped having a pre-game cup'o'Joe. In fact, it's even rubbed off on his teammates in New York in recent years.

"I still do that now in Brooklyn," Harris said.

"There was like three of us that do it. Ed Davis, myself and D'Angelo Russell would drink coffee before every game last year."

Harris with Russell last season in Brooklyn

Only Harris remains in Brooklyn out of those three names after Davis departed for Utah and Russell to LA, but there's every chance Dellavedova's - and now Harris' - pre-game coffee ritual will find more devotees in the Nets locker room.

This off-season saw the Brooklyn Nets snap up two huge names in Harris' former Cleveland teammate Kyrie Irving and NBA MVP Kevin Durant. They also nabbed NBA veteran and Olympic gold medallist DeAndre Jordan.

https://twitter.com/NBA/status/1162084280882741248

Though Durant is expected to miss all of this season due to an ACL injury suffered in the NBA Finals with Golden State, like he did at Cleveland when James and Love were acquired, Harris once again finds himself at a team all of a sudden thrust into the spotlight as potential title contenders.

"This is what the NBA is. There's lots of moving parts. The league is very fluid," Harris said.

"Guys move around from teams, this is part of the business. It's what the NBA is geared around now. It's very rare now that you find guys stay in one spot for their whole career."

It's been a process of rebuilding in Brooklyn in the last few years, which Harris has been there to witness at every step.

https://twitter.com/BrooklynNets/status/1097133839737081856

Last season they made the playoffs but were swiftly routed 4-1 by the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round.

Still, Harris is upbeat about the future of the Nets, and their opportunity to be the no.1 team in New York as the Knicks continue to flounder.

"I'm very excited. I thought we had a good year last year," Harris said.

"We have a lot of the core pieces coming back but then we've added a lot of talent this off-season, so everybody in Brooklyn is excited. It'll definitely be a fun season."

https://www.instagram.com/p/BzyIShghIBE/

Harris has secured his role as a starter in the squad as one of the more senior players on the Nets roster and having found form on the court. He led the NBA in shooting 47.4 percent from 3-point range and averaged career-highs of 13.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game, with his overall shooting at 50 percent.

Harris said he's had only a bit of contact with his teammates in the off-season, and is eager to hit the ground running at practice when he's back in Brooklyn, confident that their new additions will buy into the Nets' scheme.

Harris is now one of the key members of the Brooklyn Nets

"I think it's going to take some time. We've been together a little bit thus far in the off-season, but the camaraderie and the unity builds when you're going into tough practices and having the hard days," Harris said.

"I think that will really start to formulate and take shape more so when training camp starts at the end of September.

"It's way too soon to be thinking about playoffs. Our approach has always been sort of the same, we're just really focused on each day trying to get better and improve and not trying to look too far ahead."

https://twitter.com/BrooklynNets/status/1165702836962959360

While in Australia with Team USA Harris has enjoyed the opportunity to line up against his old friend Dellavedova, and check out the Maryborough native's favourite team, Collingwood, at the MCG.

In Cleveland, Dellavedova would sing the praises of the 'Pies non-stop, so it made sense Harris would wear their jersey at the AFL game.  

"I knew who the Collingwood Magpies were because of Delly. He talked enough about it so much that I knew a little bit about the game, and certainly that unless you're a Collingwood fan you kind of hate them," Harris said.

"It's still a little foreign because that was the first time I'd seen it in person but we had someone explaining the rules as it went along.

"I think maybe there is some crossover with basketball in the physicality. Definitely the Aussies are known for being tough, physical players. It's in their DNA."

https://twitter.com/usabasketball/status/1164848840639279104

One of the most intriguing teams in the NBA this season, the Brooklyn Nets, might have a much-loved Aussie basketball star to thank for an unorthodox pre-game ritual that's caught on in the locker room.

Before Nets and Team USA shooting guard Joe Harris arrived in Brooklyn in 2016, he was in Cleveland, alongside Australian Matthew Dellavedova.

Harris was a young guy at that time, drafted in 2014 out of the University of Virginia 33rd overall in the second round. Dellavedova on the other hand had been there since 2013, and Harris remembers fondly how the Aussie mentored him at the time.

"Delly and I got to know each other really well when we were in Cleveland. He kind of took me under his wing when I got there," Harris exclusively told Wide World of Sports while in Sydney ahead of Team USA's FIBA World Cup warm-up game against Canada.

"He was great in showing me the way of the NBA and his sort of independent, professional approach to everyday life in the league."

https://twitter.com/BrooklynNets/status/1165263695171203074

Harris said he knew of Dellavedova's role in the team, but never sought him out. It was purely by accident that they became close mates.

"We actually lived together in the same building, so just by being in the same building with the same schedule I would see him a lot and we just got on really well from the get-go," Harris said.

"We would go out to eat quite a bit and developed a really special bond."

Harris said the pair were "very compatible" personality-wise, and their mutual characteristics as hard-working but sometimes under-appreciated role players would no doubt have been another area where they could both relate to one another.

"I think it was just personality based," Harris said. "Delly is a very low-maintenance, easy-going guy. Easy to get along with.

"I got to know him really well, and his wife too. I was even at his wedding a couple of years ago."

Harris beside LeBron James in Cleveland

In Harris' first year in the league the Cavaliers went to the NBA Finals, led by the return of Cleveland hero LeBron James, and the addition of Kevin Love joining All-Star Kyrie Irving, making a formidable 'Big Three'.

Coming in as one of the best three-point shooters in his draft class, Harris played 51 games in his rookie year with limited minutes due to James and Love's arrival. He bounced around the D-League in between, but had a brief cameo in Game 1 of the NBA finals.

https://www.instagram.com/p/8MEaWiThyH/

The Cavaliers went on to lose that Finals series 4-2, but it was during that time that Dellavedova's peculiar pre-game ritual became a major talking point.

After playing a huge part in Cleveland's Game 3 win over Golden State, where Dellavedova had 20-points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists, he required hospitalisation for severe cramping from dehydration. Though Dellavedova later refuted it had any impact, his love of having a pre-game coffee was mostly blamed.

Like most Australians abroad, Dellavedova had great appreciation for a decent flat white. While most athletes go for electrolytes, maybe a light snack, or just plain old H20 before their athletic pursuits, an hour before every NBA game (and sometimes at half-time), Dellavedova preferred a cup of coffee.

"It gets me going. It's something I've always done," Dellavedova told Northeast Ohio Media Group earlier in that season. "Before competition it helps improves athletic performance, focus and all those type of things."

Harris watches as Simmons dunks during the NBA playoffs last season

He'd been doing it all year, and as much as it left media gobsmacked, his teammates were equally perplexed.

"That's some Australian stuff," then Cavaliers centre Tristan Thompson said of Dellavedova. "I can't do that. Whatever gets him going I'm rolling with it, especially if he's making them shots."

It was reported then that Anderson Varejao, who was injured at the time, would be known to source a cup of coffee for Dellavedova in the locker room before tipoff at games, so accepted was the Victorian's unshakable java habit.

By the following season, with Dellavedova now a cult hero in 'The Land' known for his determined, gritty, team-first efforts for the Cavaliers, the Aussie had his own brew 'G'Day Mate' made by Cleveland Coffee Company and sold around Ohio.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BHr7ntsgaQ1/

And so it was during Harris' rookie year that Dellavedova's Cavaliers buddy picked up the pre-game beverage addiction too.

"Oh yeh, definitely picked it up," Harris said.

"That's the thing… I actually copied Delly. So I would actually drink the coffees pre-game as well."

Fast forward to 2019, and Harris has been in Brooklyn for the last three seasons and even now he admits he hasn't stopped having a pre-game cup'o'Joe. In fact, it's even rubbed off on his teammates in New York in recent years.

"I still do that now in Brooklyn," Harris said.

"There was like three of us that do it. Ed Davis, myself and D'Angelo Russell would drink coffee before every game last year."

Harris with Russell last season in Brooklyn

Only Harris remains in Brooklyn out of those three names after Davis departed for Utah and Russell to LA, but there's every chance Dellavedova's - and now Harris' - pre-game coffee ritual will find more devotees in the Nets locker room.

This off-season saw the Brooklyn Nets snap up two huge names in Harris' former Cleveland teammate Kyrie Irving and NBA MVP Kevin Durant. They also nabbed NBA veteran and Olympic gold medallist DeAndre Jordan.

https://twitter.com/NBA/status/1162084280882741248

Though Durant is expected to miss all of this season due to an ACL injury suffered in the NBA Finals with Golden State, like he did at Cleveland when James and Love were acquired, Harris once again finds himself at a team all of a sudden thrust into the spotlight as potential title contenders.

"This is what the NBA is. There's lots of moving parts. The league is very fluid," Harris said.

"Guys move around from teams, this is part of the business. It's what the NBA is geared around now. It's very rare now that you find guys stay in one spot for their whole career."

It's been a process of rebuilding in Brooklyn in the last few years, which Harris has been there to witness at every step.

https://twitter.com/BrooklynNets/status/1097133839737081856

Last season they made the playoffs but were swiftly routed 4-1 by the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round.

Still, Harris is upbeat about the future of the Nets, and their opportunity to be the no.1 team in New York as the Knicks continue to flounder.

"I'm very excited. I thought we had a good year last year," Harris said.

"We have a lot of the core pieces coming back but then we've added a lot of talent this off-season, so everybody in Brooklyn is excited. It'll definitely be a fun season."

https://www.instagram.com/p/BzyIShghIBE/

Harris has secured his role as a starter in the squad as one of the more senior players on the Nets roster and having found form on the court. He led the NBA in shooting 47.4 percent from 3-point range and averaged career-highs of 13.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game, with his overall shooting at 50 percent.

Harris said he's had only a bit of contact with his teammates in the off-season, and is eager to hit the ground running at practice when he's back in Brooklyn, confident that their new additions will buy into the Nets' scheme.

Harris is now one of the key members of the Brooklyn Nets

"I think it's going to take some time. We've been together a little bit thus far in the off-season, but the camaraderie and the unity builds when you're going into tough practices and having the hard days," Harris said.

"I think that will really start to formulate and take shape more so when training camp starts at the end of September.

"It's way too soon to be thinking about playoffs. Our approach has always been sort of the same, we're just really focused on each day trying to get better and improve and not trying to look too far ahead."

https://twitter.com/BrooklynNets/status/1165702836962959360

While in Australia with Team USA Harris has enjoyed the opportunity to line up against his old friend Dellavedova, and check out the Maryborough native's favourite team, Collingwood, at the MCG.

In Cleveland, Dellavedova would sing the praises of the 'Pies non-stop, so it made sense Harris would wear their jersey at the AFL game.  

"I knew who the Collingwood Magpies were because of Delly. He talked enough about it so much that I knew a little bit about the game, and certainly that unless you're a Collingwood fan you kind of hate them," Harris said.

"It's still a little foreign because that was the first time I'd seen it in person but we had someone explaining the rules as it went along.

"I think maybe there is some crossover with basketball in the physicality. Definitely the Aussies are known for being tough, physical players. It's in their DNA."

https://twitter.com/usabasketball/status/1164848840639279104 https://ift.tt/2KYlNHj
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