Hoist ‘em up! 24 years ago today, a new era of ‘Strayan NBA basketball dawned as the Aussie GOAT, Andrew ‘Gazey’ Gaze — the Grey Mamba himself — wandered into the US capital, strapped on his K-Mart signature edition Dunlop Gazey 1s for the #WashingtonBullets and kicked more butt than Kieren Perkins over 1500 metres in his NBA DEBUT!
That’s right: suiting up next to ‘My Giant’ Gheorghe Mureşan, the Aussie Larry Bird played his first ever NBA game back in March of 1994, leading his Bullets to a big victory over Dikembe Mutombo and the Denver Nuggets.
AND! Proving he was a dead-set Aussie legend only equalled by Don Bradman, Cadel Evans, Betty Cuthbert, Ned Kelly and bloody Johnny Farnham COMBINED, amazingly enough, of Gazey’s 26 total NBA games for the Bullets and the #Spurs, this would also go down as the Grey Mamba’s BEST EVER NBA game! That’s more bananas than those two jokers who lived in their bloody pyjamas! Who else in history has their best ever NBA game in their debut!?
Anyway: proving why Larry Bird is now called ‘the American Andrew Gaze’, in 18 minutes Gazey went 1-of-2 from the field and, with fundamentally-flawless form on his free throws, nailed both of his 2 shots from the charity stripe — a CAREER HIGH in both makes AND attempts! — and the Melbourne Tiger legend finished with 4 points in his NBA debut.
It was a performance that put the Nuggets, the association AND the entire country on notice that the Grey Mamba — already an NBL champ and 2x MVP — wasn’t here to bake lamingtons and have a chinwag like bloody Bev down the Geelong High fete, he was there to school chumps on the fundamentals of basketball and reverse kanga their dunnies!
But that wasn’t the end of his career marks either! The Grey Mamba was out there like a salt’n’pepper Houdini, swiping a CAREER HIGH 2 steals that were so devious Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf briefly considered changing his name back to Chris Jackson and moving to Missouri to live a life of anonymity out of fear that Gazey would pick him up full court again.
And showing how he had a game more well-rounded than that sentient spud Jason Dunstall, Gazey added 2 perfectly executed rebounds that came straight out of the pages of that sacred Aussie text ‘Basketball: The Andrew Gaze Way’. He also had one assist that was a double-handed chest pass that hit Tom Gugliotta with such force that it lifted poor Googs off his feet, bounced off him and went in for a perfect swish. Those in attendance still swear it’s not just the greatest basketball play they’ve ever seen, but the greatest bloody thing full stop.
And sure, the Grey Mamba also had one turnover, but it was probably Gheorghe Muresan’s fault.
Anyway. How’s that! In Gazey’s NBA debut he had 4 points, 2 boards, 1 dime and 2 swipes: no wonder the legend of the Grey Mamba lives on to this day, inspiring kids to execute perfect layups and have fundamentally sound shooting form, proving that ‘Basketball: the Andrew Gaze Way’ is the only way. Reckon the GOAT probably bakes a sick lamington too.
#ONYA Gazey ya ledge!