24/05/2024
Matthew Dellavedova Melbourne United

Matthew Dellavedova is officially in the NBL. Photo: Melbourne United

Boasting an NBA Championship and now an Olympic Medal, Matthew Dellavedova is one of Australia's greatest-ever exports. He's now all-in on finding success with Melbourne United in the NBL, for however long that may be.

Boasting an NBA Championship and now an Olympic Medal, Matthew Dellavedova is one of Australia’s greatest-ever exports. He’s now all-in on finding success with Melbourne United in the NBL, for however long that may be.

After completing his 14-day quarantine post-Tokyo, Dellavedova spoke to the media as a Melbourne United player.

“It definitely was the plan at some point to come back and play in the NBL,” he smiled.

“If I was going to play anywhere it was going to be in Melbourne, close to my family and friends.”

“Obviously it’s a great club that does a lot of great development – it was a launching pad for Jock [Landale] as well. Coming off a Championship, they’ve got such a great culture, I’m looking forward to being a part of that.”

When he does get back to Melbourne, his schedule is packed for his stint before he flies back to the United States for pre-season with his NBA franchise.

“Usually when I come back in the off-season I have usually a month – that includes Boomers prep, spending time with family, trying to do a few clinics… and catching up with my mates.

“I think having a year to do that is going to be a lot less stressful, [I’m] going to be able to fit a lot more quality family time in.

“[I] hopefully continue to help grow the game at the grass roots and help do some clinics. I’m really looking forward to that part as well.”

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It’s an aspect of the game that he has thrived in, hosting clinics and being generous with his time for fans.

After a history-making Bronze Medal run with the Boomers at Tokyo 2020, that passion to come back to Australia and perform in front of the nation burned all the more for Dellavedova.

“We come back and play for the Boomers – usually have one or two games but it’s usually in one, maybe two cities.

“So not all the kids get a chance to watch your game in person or say hello, or give you a high-five – I’m definitely looking forward to that part.

“I know things get competitive, especially when you head over to Perth, but I’m looking forward to seeing all the kids, giving some high-fives and hopefully take a lot of photos.

“Helping show kids basketball is obviously the best sport – [it can] take you all over the world, the NBA, Europe, wherever.

“The most important thing is you can pull on the Green and Gold and represent Australia at the Olympics. 

“We all felt the support over there from everyone in Australia, and I think it’s the perfect time to be coming back to play.”

Matthew Dellavedova celebrates with Boomers teammates Jock Landale and Chris Goulding. Photo: Melbourne United

The 30-year-old is still staying ready to pursue another stint in the NBA if a team comes calling, with United understanding of that desire and adding an NBA clause to his contract that will allow him to leave halfway through the season should a team come calling.

It was the pathway of Andrew Bogut – who spent time with the Sydney Kings before heading back to the US for a title-run with the Golden State Warriors – that convinced Dellavedova that his time in Australia wouldn’t hinder his opportunity abroad.

“The Next Stars and Jock [Landale] were huge things for the NBL, but I think with ‘Bogues’ [Andrew Bogut] coming back – he’s so well known around the world, especially in the NBA.

“For him to come over to the NBL, obviously do really well, then come back and play a role in the NBA, I think just helped the league gain more respect. ‘Bogues’ is a bit of a trailblazer in that way.

“My goal is to get back to the NBA and play there.

“I feel I have a lot more left in the tank, a lot of things to improve on but for right now I’m just excited to be playing for United. To get down there, get to know the boys and get the season started.”

He has been fighting for another contract in the NBA, but was prepared to turn down lucrative offers overseas to come to the NBL and play in front of home support.

“There were some talks with NBA teams – nothing kind’ve concrete at this stage.

“Overseas there were some pretty significant offers, but I’ve always wanted to come back and play here.

“I haven’t been back in Australia since those games against the US in 2019, so [I’m] excited just to spend a little bit of time with the family, catch up with some mates.

“I’m definitely excited to get summer in Melbourne, after going from winter to winter for – I think it was about 12 years. Winters in Milwaukee and Cleveland are pretty cold, so I think that’s going to be good for the body as well to go summer, to summer, to summer.”

Dellavedova isn’t placing expectations of another title-winning tilt on United, who will have to do it without the NBA-bound Landale and Mitch McCarron – who signed with the Adelaide 36ers in the off-season.

“Each season – even if you’re with the same team – each season is different.

“Different players created a different dynamic; I’m not setting any expectations coming in. [I’m] just looking forward to getting down there with the boys, talking with them, getting started and can think about that more in the next month or two.”

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