Former NBL star Brendan Joyce revealed he came close to choosing a football career over basketball.
The Broadmeadows native went to school alongside former Collingwood President Eddie McGuire, and much like the TV personality grew up mad about the black and white.
While he was Collingwood through and through, growing up in Broadmeadows meant he was zoned to North Melbourne and Joyce reflected on playing football throughout his junior years.
“We’re just kids, we knew nothing about it, I grew up a Collingwood fan and all I wanted to do was play for Collingwood,” Joyce said on SEN’s This Is Your Journey – thanks to Tobin Brothers.
“But growing up playing at St Dominic’s, before I got there, Frank (McGuire) was the best and fairest at the school, I was best and fairest after that and Eddie (McGuire) might have been two years later and he played with my younger brother.
“But that was the zone of North Melbourne and at that point, I was at a school called Broadmeadows West Technical School … I played footy for the school and a team called Jacana.
“Famous names, Scotty White – Brownlow Medallist, Bruce Doull and a guy I played with Peter Smith – he was the same era as me and he went to North Melbourne.”
While playing both school and club footy, Joyce said the Kangaroos made approaches for him to head to Arden Street, but ultimately chose basketball as he was already on the verge of playing NBL with the Nunawading Spectres.
“I got asked, Slug (Ray) Jordan used to come to the games … and obviously other scouts, I got asked to go down there and also Brunswick in the VFA, they went hard,” Joyce said.
“But I had to make a choice … I had been making state teams, but I really chose basketball because I was on the fringe of the senior team (with Nunawading) and it wasn’t Collingwood, it was North Melbourne.
“Dad was upset, he wanted me to play football, he didn’t talk to me for a few months.
“Eventually one day he came to an NBL game a couple of years later and he said, ‘This is pretty good’.”
Joyce ended up playing 289 NBL games across 14 seasons.
Post-retirement, he became one of the NBL’s most successful coaches, taking charge in over 400 games including the 2001 championship.