OSCAR Forman in a Sydney Kings singlet? It’s enough to make any Hawks fan dry wretch.
It was, however, a very real possibility as Forman navigated the many twists turns on his journey to 500 NBL games – a milestone he’ll notch on Saturday.
It was a journey that started with his debut for hometown club Adelaide as a 19-year-old in 2001, a championship year for the 36ers.
Despite the club's success, Forman said he had no reason to think he’d be suiting up for his 500th game 17 seasons later.
“I had a two [year] plus two-year deal that year. My first year as a rookie I was OK, my second year I was average,” Forman said.
“The CEO at the time didn’t want me, he only wanted to give me one more year, and Phil Smyth went into bat for me and said ‘no I want him’.
“That could’ve gone a very different way but Phil signed me against the wishes of management at the time and without having those extra two years who knows what would’ve happened.
“I was playing with guys like Brett Maher, Mark Nash, Paul Rees and I never thought I’d be encroaching on those guys records and going past them in games played.”
Forman ultimately racked up 151 games for Adelaide before making what he saw as a necessary shift across the Tasman with the Breakers.
“When I was with Adelaide, I always wanted to stay there and a be a one-club player,” Forman said.
“I saw what Brett Maher did and that was incredible. You look at the history books and he’d been there so long and held every record.
“I always wanted to do that but I had to go to New Zealand to really develop as a person and as a player. It was the first club where I wasn’t a home town guy.
“I got there and thought ‘OK, this is where I want to develop and play a bigger role’ so it was a special club for me as well.”
Forman was at another crossroad when he was cut by the Breakers at the end of the 2010 season. He returned to Australia with two offers on the table and made the decision that would ultimately define his career.
“It was the probably the first time I had a real choice to make,” Forman said.
“I got cut by New Zealand and I was contacted by two clubs and I met with Sydney and Wollongong.
“In traditional Wollongong style, the offer was for far lower money but they came in said ‘here’s how we do everything, here’s what we’re about on and off the court’.
“With Sydney it was ‘here’s the money and we’ll just work everything else out later’. I remember speaking to mum and dad at the time and they said, ‘of course you go with the best situation over money’ choose Wollongong.
“If I’d gone to Sydney I’d have made a heap more money that season but would I still be in the league? Who knows.
“That’s why Wollongong’s so special for me, it was my first home away from home. It’s such a small tight-knit community, everyone looks after each other and if you put into the community people have your back.”