There’s a good reason that former Harlem Globetrotter Dwayne Cross is known as “˜Smiling’ Dwayne Cross.
Big Dwayne just can’t keep the grin off his face as he hosts each and every 3 on 3 around the country.
Ask him what it is that he likes about emceeing the event, and he answers without a second’s hesitation. “It’s the kids,” he says. “Getting to meet the kids and seeing the kids enjoy themselves is just great.
“I find it really, really amazing how the combination of music and sport can influence kids, no matter where you are in the world.
“Take Yirrkala, for instance. The kids there speak in their [traditional] language and they found it hard to understand me.
“Then you play some Tupac and suddenly they’re throwing up Westside fingers (street signals).”
Dwayne says he loves being a positive role model for the kids. He knows all about overcoming the odds to be the best you can be.
He grew up in Chicago and as a teenager got himself into some trouble with the law. He didn’t start playing basketball until he was 14, but he had such talent and put in so much hard work that he was playing for the famous Harlem Globetrotters by the time he was 22.
During his five seasons with the Globetrotters, he got to meet some famous people, such as the American President Jimmy Carter. “It was an unbelievable experience,” Dwayne says of his time with the Globetrotters.
Dwayne was on his way to play in Japan some years back when he stopped off in Australia. He first fell in love with the country, then fell in love with an Australian, and has been here ever since.
Through the 3 on 3, many Australian kids have gotten to know Dwayne and his basketball antics. Lots of them ask him to show them how spin a ball on their fingers or how to flip the ball around their backs. He happily shows off his range of tricks, smiling all the time.
“I love being a positive role model for the kids,” he says. “I’m an example of how, if you work hard, you can achieve whatever goals you want to achieve.”