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Former NBA player praises those that ‘had courage to talk up’ in Sarver investigation

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Andrew Gaze is across the globe in his homeland of Australia, but the previous NBA player has heard enough concerning the Robert Sarver investigation to have an opinion on it.

“I feel, unfortunately, it’s an actual sad state of affairs,” said Gaze in Zoom interview with The Republic. “While you’ve got people of power and influence that don’t treat people the correct way, unfortunately, the tentacles of racism are prevalent throughout the world.”

Sarver has chosen to sell the Phoenix Suns and Mercury every week after being suspended for one 12 months from any activities involving each teams and fined $10 million for ”workplace misconduct and organizational deficiencies” found during a 10-month NBA investigation.

MORE: Robert Sarver proclaims he’ll sell Suns, Mercury

An NBA champion with the San Antonio Spurs in 1999, Gaze will likely be in Phoenix serving as an envoy for Australian Made when the Adelaide 36ers play the Suns in a preseason game Oct. 2 at Footprint Center.

“The NBL x NBA initiative and associated brand activations provide a singular opportunity to coach consumers within the US market about real Aussie products and tips on how to discover them through the mark of Aussie authenticity—the Australian Made logo,” said Australian Made CEO Ben Lazzaro in a news release as he’s describing the famous green and gold kangaroo that Australia’s official global product symbol.

This will likely be the primary game the Suns play because the NBA announced the findings of the investigation, the punishment and Sarver announcing he’s looking for buyers for the Suns and Mercury.

“I attempt to at all times take the positive approach and say that cause people have had the courage to talk up, because individuals are being willing to show racism, then I feel we’re a step closer to make the world a greater place,” said Gaze.

Sarver was found to have used the N-word multiple times and made inappropriate comments to female employees in his 18-year tenure as team owner of the Suns.

Adelaide also will play Oct. 6 at Oklahoma City as a part of its tour of the USA.

Out of Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL), the 36ers will look to offer a competitive game against the Suns and Thunder.

“I feel that for us, with our sport on the whole, even for those who’re not a basketball fan, now we have unbelievably high expectations for our teams,” said Gaze, who starred in college at Seton Hall and played two NBA seasons.

Andrew Gaze, seen in 2018 while coach of the Sydney Kings during an exhibition game against the Los Angeles Clippers.  Sept. 30, 2018, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

“So I feel the Adelaide 36ers, yeah, they’re going over there for a learning experience, but they’re also going over there to assist promote our league and know we could be competitive against the absolute best on the planet.”

Australian Made and the 36ers may even come bearing gifts.

  • Budgy Smugglers, which is Australian’s nickname for swimwear.
  • Australian Thongs aka flip flops.
  • MaxiBlock sunscreen.
  • Saya skincare.
  • Akubra hats.
  • Leather goods.
  • Vegemite, which is a thick, brown Australian food spread constructed from leftover brewers’ yeast extract with various vegetable and spice additives.

“What we wish to do with these experiences is it’s also a fantastic opportunity to advertise our nation,” Gaze said. “We’re on the opposite side of the world. We’re type of on the market. Everyone thinks of kangaroos and koala bears and don’t at all times understand and appreciate we’re a really advance country that has been leaders in a number of different industries world wide. With this little giftpack, we try to offer a little bit of Australian culture to Americans, American friends.

Gaze strongly encourages those that haven’t tried vegemite to accomplish that.

It’s considered an acquired taste to say the least.

“Use it frivolously and it’s one those I feel you’ve got to condition yourself,” Gaze said. “We grow up on it. After we’re babies, I do know myself, after I was a baby. We call them dummies. You call them pacifiers. My parents used to dip it, put somewhat vegemite on it and we used to suck it. You’d have it on toast.”

Gaze laughed when saying it’s appears like “child abuse” when one tastes the spread, but Australians like it.

“We grow up on it,” the now 57-year-old Gaze continued. “I don’t know too a lot of my American friends; it looks like while you’re introduced to it somewhat later in life, you don’t at all times get those that jump on it, however it’ll taste really salty. It’s a day by day spread for me.”

Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at dmrankin@gannett.com or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.

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