He’s just realised a childhood dream by signing a NBA contract, but already Australia’s Cameron Bairstow is thinking how to make a career out of it.
Cameron Bairstow isn’t content with just an NBA contract – he wants a career in the big time.
And he’ll do whatever it takes to make sure it happens, even if that means biding his time on the bench.
The Australian signed a three-year deal with the Chicago Bulls earlier this week after impressing at training and last week’s NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
The iconic franchise had been eyeing the power forward for some time and picked him up in the second round of the 2014 draft.
“It was a lifetime goal to play in the NBA and every kid’s dream, so to have that become a reality is pretty awesome,” Bairstow told AAP on Wednesday after arriving in Canberra for a training camp with the Australian Boomers ahead of next month’s World Cup.
“But at the same time, it’s what’s next? What can you do to have a career in the NBA?
“It’s something to be proud of, but definitely something (I need) to continue to strive towards.”
The 23-year-old from Brisbane, now the sixth Australian in the NBA, spent the past four years toiling away in the US college system at the University of New Mexico.
He enjoyed a breakout season as a senior this year, which he – in part – attributes to the time he spent playing with the Australian national team.
“It wasn’t just a one-year process; it was a gradual thing – I was improving year-to-year,” he said.
“It was my first year with the Australian program in the last off-season … and I think that really helped me going up against some of the top college players and some of the top young international players.”
With the Bulls boasting the likes of Joachim Noah, Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson and Nikola Mirotic on their roster, they are considered serious championship contenders this season.
It also means Bairstow’s unlikely to get much game-time, but the big man isn’t concerned.
“I understand – as I have my whole basketball career – there’s going to be ups and downs during the season,” he said.
“You’re going to get your opportunities, it’s just about making the most of them and learning from mistakes.
“There hasn’t been any talk of (minutes on court), it’s just going to be a process where I go in and try and learn as quickly as I can and get adjusted to the system.
“I’ve never really been on a losing team in my basketball career, so it’s good to know you’re going to be playing for one of the top teams that’s ready to contend.
“And I think that’s one of the reasons why they were interested (in me) – rather than a young, potential player.”