Australian national basketball team ace Joe Ingles feels the recent return of two stars to the Australian domestic football competition will help the sport massively down under.
The 24-year old is exposed to the world game on a different level to most Australians as he currently plays for Barcelona Regal in the La Liga ACB in Spain – one of the top three leagues in European basketball.
Barcelona Basquet shares the Nou Camp training precinct with the world-renowned FC Barcelona – football’s best team at present – so Ingles is well-versed to impart his knowledge on the subject of big name players making an impact on a particular sporting code.
Just months ago, Australian football produced two massive coups in the shape of Socceroos veterans Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton coming home to continue their impressive careers in the A-League (with Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC respectively).
Knowing how some of his Australian basketball colleagues, namely Patrick Mills and Andrew Bogut, have returned home to give the National Basketball League (NBL) a much-needed boost, Ingles sees the importance of having players like Kewell and Emerton heading back to their roots.
“I think its massive for the A-League having players of the top level who previously played for top clubs (returning),” the former CB Granada star told tribalfootball.com. “It’s what every team needs.
“Harry and Brett would have a lot of stories and different things that could help an A-League team out massively. Also with them back you would think the clubs fan base would grow a bit.
“It’s the same as Pat Mills being back with the Tigers right now (during the NBA lockout) and when Bogut was trying (to help out the Sydney Kings).”
Ingles added that his love for football has grown dramatically since living and playing with football-mad people in Barcelona and suggested that he may even get along to some A-League matches whenever he is back on home soil.
“We all like watching the (Barcelona) football team, it is an honor to be able to watch them and feel a part of it too,” he added.
“The Spanish guys are really into it, also the Brazillian (Marcelinho Huertas).
“I never used to watch much (football) when I was in Australia but now I love watching them play and will be into the Melbourne Victory when I'm home next!!”
The new Liga ACB season kicked off in early October with Barcelona winning two of its opening three games in which Ingles contributed valuable minutes for Xavier Pascual’s side.