Joe Ingles on Australia success: “We really like each other”

Star of Boomers basketball hails team spirit that sealed qualification for Tokyo 2020 at FIBA World Cup in China

By Vassilis Skountis ·

Joe Ingles wants to look ahead and be responsible for all that is happening now - not feel guilty about what has or has not happened in the past.

In 14 trips to the Olympic basketball tournament, plus 11 to the FIBA Basketball World Cup prior to this year’s event, Australia have never succeeded in reaching the podium.

Now, in Beijing, the Boomers have a chance to break that run.

The 32-year-old versatile Utah Jazz point forward does not embrace the “it’s now or never” motto and stays calm.

“You [the media] can write a cool story about it, but I don’t really care about the past. We’re talking about what’s happening now,” he told Olympic Channel ahead of Australia's first ever FIBA World Cup semi-final.

The Aussies’ qualification to the semis, together with Argentina, France, and Spain, brings out the “geographical” importance of three continents being represented.

Ingles, a Euroleague Champion in 2014 while playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv, agrees that this fact is indicative of the game’s development.

“Basketball is a wonderful game,” he says. “There are a lot of great players, a lot of great teams, countries are getting stronger and stronger, and to me, it’s not really a surprise.”

Joe Ingles of Australia in action against France at 2019 FIBA World Cup

After starting out with the South Dragons in his native country, then playing for Granada and FC Barcelona in Spain, and Maccabi in Israel, Ingles saw his dream come true, as since 2014 he has been plying his trade in the NBA for the Jazz.

At the same time, he has seen the Boomers progress and their appetite grow stronger. “Playing in this stage with your national team for so long, you see teams grow and grow, and I feel we’ve been one of those teams too. When I first started, we were fighting for every game. Now I feel we’ve got to that point where we can be comfortable in some games, but we’re still not satisfied,” he said.

Australia finished fourth in the 1988, 1996, 2000, and 2016 Olympic Tournaments, and fifth in the 1982 and 1994 Basketball World Cup editions

By reaching the 2019 Beijing semi-finals the team have already made history, and the final four game against Spain on Friday (13th September) gives the Aussies a chance to go one step further.

Ingles believes there is no magic recipe behind all this.

The reason they play well, win, and achieve their goals is simple, but very important: “We really like each other. That’s the most important thing,” Ingles explains.