The new Cleveland Cavaliers breakout star in the NBA Finals, Matthew Dellavedova, is an unlikely hero. A million little things had to happen for Dellavedova to find himself in the spotlight, including a season-ending injury to the Cavs regular point guard, All-Star Kyrie Irving. But long before that, Dellavedova had to find his way to Cleveland from his native Maryborough — a tiny city in Victoria, Australia 10,000 miles away. By US standards, Maryborough isn’t a city at all, with a population of 7,630. Dellavedova’s first step on his amazing journey was a basketball scholarship to Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, California — a school that retired his number, he was so good.
But at just 24, Dellavedova hasn’t been away from home long, despite what he’s accomplished. And the hometown keeps him in its heart. Australian rules football dominates the Queensland sports coverage — Dellavedova played it himself growing up before focusing on hoops. But the local paper in Mayborough, the Fraser Coast Chronicle, is watching the NBA Finals like it never has before. As the Chronicle says in its big article on its hometown son, so far “the role Dellavedova has played cannot be underestimated.” They can’t help but mention that Kyrie Irving also happened to be born in Australia (in Melbourne, where his father was playing pro basketball). The Aussies were gonna own this 2015 NBA Finals either way! Oh, yeah, they also named a gym after Dellavadova back home.
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