Nate Jawai, the first Indigenous Australian to play in the NBA, has returned home to his community over the weekend.
Jawai returned back to the Cairns Taipans in 2016, where his career began, and over the weekend. He made the 1,000km trip to his hometown Bamaga for the first time since being home.
The Torres Strait Island man, along with his team, travelled the Northern Peninsula Area over three days.
They visited Bamaga, Seisia and the North Cape for cultural education and a series of team-building activities.
Jawai said the trip went “real good” and his family loved meeting his team and they will remember it for a long time.
“They enjoyed it a lot, I think the guys made it easy for them,” he said.
“They loved the reaction the guys had with the food and the dancing.
“And they were just impressed how down to earth the whole team is, saying hello to everybody and having a chat.”
It wasn’t all fun and no work, with Taipans Coach Adam Forde organising a beach circuit to get their loads up a different way.
“There is no court, so we organised a circuit and mixed it up with cardio, push-ups and challenges that require strategy thinking.”
Forde said the trip to Bamaga encompassed team bonding, connecting to Nate the community and Country.
“We are trying to set a foundation for our season and so far it’s been fantastic,” he said.
“A lot of guys from Australia wouldn’t get to experience anything like this, being at the most northern tip of Australia.
“We are ticking a lot of personal goals and team building goals.”
The Taipans are set to play their first home game of the season on December 11.
By Teisha Cloos