The holiday season is a time for friends and family to get together and celebrate their achievements of the past year, but for the NBA and its players, the show must go on. Although his team might not be featured in this year’s selection of Christmas day match-ups, Dante Exum is one of the many players in the league that will be spending time away from his family these holidays.
Having been drafted by the Utah Jazz in 2014, this isn’t Dante’s first Christmas away from Australia, and he told starting5online that, even though he missed getting to spend time with his family the past two years, they are all with him in the United States now so it’s not so bad. But given how many international players are currently playing in the NBA, that isn’t the case for everyone. Exum said that the Jazz all band together to make sure their teammates all have somewhere to go on Christmas Day, though.
“Last year I want over to Joe’s (Ingles) house,” he said “I had a couple of friends in town and we spend Christmas together. I think he has 13 of his family members in town so he kind of didn’t like it last year with me. But, if someone doesn’t have a place to go, everyone from the team is inviting, it doesn’t matter who it is.”
Every family has their holiday traditions and the Exum’s are no exception. Dante said, “My biggest family tradition is that we always opened our presents on Christmas eve. It was my parent’s anniversary so it was kind of what we did – but we’ve kind of grown out of that a bit.”
The holidays in Australia are an entirely different experience to that in the United States. Australians have beach BBQ’s, fresh seafood, summer fruits, and pavlova – not to mention it’s around 90 degrees fahrenheit, too! At this time of the year, those living away from families miss home, but sometimes it’s also the little things that you miss like your mum’s food, and the sun.
Exum talked about how he’s excited to have his family with him this year.
“Hopefully it’s going to be the same as in Australia,” he said. “You know, a bit of home cooking – but the biggest thing that I miss is that BBQ during the day and the hot weather. You don’t have to hibernate inside.”
Over the off season, the San Antonio Spurs traded Boris Diaw to the Utah Jazz to make room for the arriving Pau Gasol from Chicago. It was well documented that throughout his time in San Antonio, Diaw became quite close with Patty Mills, and the pair, along with Manu Ginobili. spent a lot of time together off the court.
It would appear that Diaw has continued to spend time with Australians after the trade as well as Exum and Ingles have been seen out and about enjoying the local food of their team’s hometown.
When asked if they were planning on recruiting Diaw to play with the Boomers, Exum jokingly responded: “Oh no, we don’t like the French.
“Boris is a really good guy and we joke a lot about the French-Australian battle between the national teams – I always remind him that we beat him in the Olympics. It’s just friendly banter, and we’ll continue to do that.”
If there’s one thing that Australians know, it’s good coffee, and given his reputation for traveling with an espresso machine that is plugged into his locker, Exum said that Ingles feels right at home with the Frenchman. “Well I don’t drink coffee, but them two – they bond over that.”
Exum is one of the lucky international NBA players that gets to spend the holidays with their family, but we hope that everyone in the league has a happy holidays no matter where they are, and who they are celebrating with!