This weekend the ritual will be repeated. The 10-year-old will go to her bedroom and stand in front of her wardrobe. She will reach inside and grab one piece of clothing without fail.
She grabs this piece of clothing every time there is an Illawarra Hawks home game. Heck, she grabs most days to be honest and hardly ever is it allowed to be washed.
On the back is a big No. 6. On the front is a small patch of white where Andrew “AJ” Ogilvy has scrawled his autograph in black permanent marker.
She’s wearing it on my iPhone cover photo with her younger sister who also has an AJ top but is less of a basketball enthusiast. You see, AJ is our man. We love all the Illawarra Hawks, but there is no doubting AJ is our top dog.
The 10-year-old cheers when he takes a shot, she cheers when he makes a shot and heck she even cheers when he misses a shot. That last one’s kind of embarrassing. She doesn’t care. Neither do I.
Today’s Greatest Hawks of All Time doesn’t show Aj Ogilvy on the list but you could make an argument he should be.
In 79 games for the club he has scored over 1000 points at an average 13 points per game at 51%. He backs that up with averaging eight rebounds a game, over two assist a game and 1.6 blocks per game.
He is a three-time NBL All-First team member (2014, 2016, 2017). Three times. His name features on several of the Illawarra Hawks club record lists. That stacks up pretty well.
Yet few players are as undervalued, more maligned or written off as often as AJ. Injury has hindered his season and a hip injury has restricted the big man’s versatility and mobilty, a secret to his success.
Yet AJ always comes back. And it no matter what there will always be a 10-year-old on the sidelines wearing the number six on the sidelines cheering. Go get ‘em champion.