The son of American parents, Dante Exum was born in Melbourne playing with the Keilor Basketball Association in the city’s northern suburbs before moving to Canberra. His father, Cecil, played college basketball at the University of North Carolina and won an NCAA championship in 1982, a team which featured Michael Jordan. Cecil was drafted in 1984 by the Denver Nuggets.
He was the youngest player to be invited into Boomers national squad, when he was just 15 and helped Australia to a silver medal at the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championships, earning selection in the tournament’s All-Star Five team.
In 2013 Dante played with the Australian Emus at the FIBA U19 World Championships, reaching the semi-finals.
A product from the Australian Institute of Sport’s basketball program, Dante was the fifth pick in the NBA’s 2104 draft to the Utah Jazz.
Dante became only the 10th rookie in Jazz history to play in all 82 games, scoring double figures in 13 of those. He was a member of the 2015 and 2017 Rising Stars Challenge at the NBA All-Star Weekend.
But in late 2015 he tore his ACL while playing for the Boomers in an international friendly against Slovenia, which cost him the chance to play for Australia at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Injury stalked him again when he required shoulder surgery in 2017. And in 2019 he suffered bone bruising to his ankle and a partially torn tendon in his right knee.
Dante was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers later in 2019 and then to the Houston Rockets in early 2021, but he hasn’t played since damaging his right calf muscle in January.
Dante will make his Olympic debut in Tokyo as a member of the Australian Boomers.