THE wife of Perth Wildcats’ captain Damian Martin could not be more proud of her husband’s breakout performance during one of the Boomers’ best-ever Olympic basketball campaigns.
While Martin returns to Australia without an Olympic medal he has certainly won the respect of basketball’s international fraternity after repeatedly showcasing his defensive prowess on one of the world’s biggest stages.
Averaging just under 10 minutes per game the five-time NBL Defensive Player of the Year finished the Olympics with eight steals and 12 assists – his steal rate of 4.5 per 40 minutes the best in the tournament.
“Damo went from being the 11th or 12th man and thinking he was going over to Rio to wave the towel from the sideline to being the first player off the bench in the quarter-final and bronze medal games,” Brittany Martin said.
“He thought he wouldn’t have a big role going over and I was just proud of the fact that he got selected to represent Australia but for him to then play his way into the rotations was just incredible.”
Mrs Martin watched Sunday night’s 89-88 loss to Spain in the bronze medal game from the couple’s Hillary’s home and said she could not stop shaking during the frenetic final quarter.
“It was point for point up until literally the last second and I just sat with my hands over my face for at least the last six minutes,” she said.
“It was an amazing game; unfortunately there were a few questionable calls on both sides but that is just the way basketball goes sometimes.”
After 13 fourth quarter lead changes Spain scored the winning points from the charity stripe after a controversial blocking foul called against Patty Mills.
“Obviously Damo is shattered and the whole team feels disappointed within themselves because they know what they are capable of,” Mrs Martin said.
“They went over to Rio with the goal of winning gold and had a chance to make history but it didn’t work out that way.
“I still believe they are the most successful Boomers team Australia has seen in a long time, a medal would just have been the cherry on top.”
Assigned to guard some of the world’s best players, including the likes of NBA stars Kevin Durant, Tony Parker and Ricky Rubio, Martin more than held his own and his strip of Durant in the Boomers’ 10-point loss to the US was a personal highlight for his wife.
“I was just thinking ‘doesn’t Kevin Durant know not to put the ball in front of Damian Martin?’” Mrs Martin said.
“For our Wildcats’ captain to go out there and show him what not to do was really funny.
“It was hard for Damo to hold back his smile and excitement when it happened, I think that was definitely a pinch me moment for him.”