The Olympic Games was a long time coming for one of the nation’s most consistent players in Damian Martin. The defensive gun captained the Australian U19 team to the gold medal at the 2003 World Championships before heading to college in the US. He returned to Australia after a four year stint at Loyola Marymount where he began his decade long career in the NBL. He went on to win three NBL Championships, a grand final MVP and five defensive player of the year awards.
He made his Olympic debut at the Rio 2016 Games where Australia would go on to just miss out on a historic first Olympic men’s basketball medal. The Australian side began the competition with wins over medal contenders France and Serbia. A close loss to the USA was backed up by strong wins over China and Venezuela to see the side finish their group in second. They eased past Lithuania in the quarter-finals before going down to Serbia 87-61 in the semi-finals. The result set up a bronze medal clash with Spain which went down to the wire. Australia again missed a medal by the barest of margins as the Spanish scored two free throws with just over 5 seconds remaining to take the final position on the Rio podium.
Martin got limited minutes in Rio but proved himself on the defensive end, especially when given more court time against China, Venezuela and Lithuania.