Nathan Jawai on home court
BAMAGA behemoth Nathan Jawai is back in the Cairns taking a well-earned rest ahead of a renewed assault on the world's premier basketball competition, the NBA
Jawai’s dream of playing in the NBA was almost shattered before it started when routine pre-season testing with the Toronto Raptors picked up a cardiac abnormality and he was forced to the sidelines for three months.
He was eventually cleared after a battery of tests and played six NBA games and finished the season in the NBA development league with the Idaho Stampede, although missed the team’s finals campaign due to injury.
"I rolled my ankle and missed out on the finals. It would have been a great experience for me but I couldn’t play," Jawai said.
"It’s been a rough (year) for me."
The former Taipans MVP, in the Far North with his girlfriend, is looking forward to getting back to work with the Raptors in the NBA summer league but was catching up with friends and family yesterday when he spoke to The Cairns Post.
Watching mates play for Kangaroos rugby league club was followed by a family barbecue but sightseeing with girlfriend Raysha has been put on hold due to the rain.
Jawai said while more people had noticed him since his NBA stint, he was treated no differently from when he left, something he appreciated.
"I like it like that. I’m not going to change when I come home," he said.
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Crowd favourite: Former Taipan now Toronto Raptors NBA recruit Nathan Jawai and girlfriend Raysha enjoy watching the Cairns Marlins play Toowoomba on Saturday night. CHRIS HYDE
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