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Australia's Most Humble Rio Olympian Just Had Two Amazing Wins

Damian Martin. What a great guy.

13/08/2016 5:27 AM AEST | Updated 13/08/2016 6:32 AM AEST
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He can dare to dream.

You need to know about Damian Martin. He's part of the Australian Boomers men's basketball team at the Rio 2016 Olympics, and he's all kinds of awesome.

Basketballers are often full of swagger and bravado. Not our guys. Our entire Australian team here in Rio are the opposite of that. They're keepin' it real, and you can't help thinking that's one of the reasons they're playing so incredibly well.

But no one is keepin' it realer than Martin. He is 31. Overlooked for London, this is his first, and almost certainly his last Olympics. He's loving it.

So far the Boomers have beaten France, Serbia, almost beaten the USA, and overnight in Rio, they disposed of China quite easily 93-68. Martin played almost 15 minutes of that match. It was the first time he's played more than a cameo role.

The beautiful thing about Damian Martin? He knows his place. He totally gets his role in the pecking order of our strongest ever team at a men's basketball tournament. And that role, to put it bluntly, is back-up guy. A minute here, a minute there. Chin up. Just be Damian Martin.

The Boomers have four players who have won NBA titles, and a host of others who play or have played long stints in America's NBA. Martin is the captain of the Perth Wildcats in Australia's little ol' NBL. Though born in the NSW town of Gloucester, he's happy in Perth. Loves it.

Right now, though, it's tough being away. His wife Brittany is expecting their first child any day.

"She's amazing, just a week or two away from giving birth and supporting me while I'm chasing dreams," Martin told the Huffington Post Australia.

"Hopefully nothing exciting happens. She's just been amazing coping with her pregnancy as well as her husband being away.

"She's getting up and watching the games, then going back to bed and going off to work. She's been a trooper and hopefully another few games and I can get back by her side for the birth of our first child."

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Sorry Zhao Jiwei, you just got Damian Martined.

Though he's very much the extra in a star-studded Boomers lineup, Martin pulled an unexpected star turn against the USA. Though he only put in a couple of minutes of court time, he made a play which humbled a genuine NBA superstar and set social media alight.

In the second quarter, he stole the ball from NBA superstar Kevin Durant. We can't embed the video here because of Olympic rules, but it's all over YouTube and social media, so go looking if you like.

It was a moment of audacity and beauty, and his wife wasted no time sharing it on social media.

"She's happy because she's had more retweets than she's ever had," Martin laughed. "I think she's more proud of that than me. But that's OK. When you leave your wife when she's 36 weeks pregnant, you need as many brownie points as you can get."

Australian basketball legend Andrew gaze said Durant would have had no idea who Martin his. He would now. And then he'll probably forget again. But Martin's not here to be remembered. He's just here to do his bit.

There are 410 members of the Australian Olympic team. Few members of team sports beyond the big names get much attention. But Damian Martin might just be the nicest Olympian we've met so far. He's definitely the most humble.

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