The first thing that went through my mind when this groin injury occurred, was when exactly could I aim to come back and help my Melbourne United teammates win games of basketball.

There is no worse feeling in the game than not being able to suit up because of injury.

You feel like you’re letting your brothers down.

The second thing was is this where my NBA dream comes to an end?

Last year I had a chance to train and play with the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Summer League.

It really was an unbelievable experience; anytime you get the chance to train with an NBA team, you can’t pass it up.

I had an opportunity to play against NBA listed players and be coached by some of the best basketball minds in the world.

They were able to teach me all the stuff I needed to work on if I wanted to seek an opportunity in the NBA, which was a massive positive for me.

One of the things the Dallas Mavericks coaching staff preached to me was that I needed to work on my offensive game and develop a more consistent mid-range shot.

The opportunity to head to the United States really lit a fire underneath me, and since my return to Australia, I have tried to approach my basketball with those finer points in mind.

With this injury, I’m not too sure where my NBA chances now sit.

I guess we will see what happens in the near future but it’s great to know I am on their international radar.

Injuries are always a part of sport, and while this is kind of a step back in my NBA aspirations, sometimes things like this happen so that it drives us to work even harder.

Despite the injury, there hasn’t been a day where I haven’t been in the gym; either working on my shot or building up my fitness.

The lengthy layoff has also given me an opportunity to watch a ton of film so that when I do step back on the hardwood hopefully my game awareness will also enjoy some improvement.

Away from the basketball court, these past 12 months have also been significant on a personal level.

Following the 2016-17 NBA season I had an opportunity to go on a pilgrimage to South Sudan, where for the first time since my refuge to Australia, I was able to return to my home country.

majok majok exclusive insight

For those who don’t know my story, my family and I found refuge in Perth when I was two years old. And during that time I have never had an opportunity to head back to Rumbek in South Sudan.

It was a cultural experience of a lifetime and just to go back and see where I came from really put things into perspective for my Melbourne lifestyle.

You really start to appreciate everything you have, because you realise how very little they actually have over there.

What took me most by surprise was the standing ovation I received when I stepped off the tarmac.

There could not have been less than 500 people there; just waiting for me, hoping they could catch me for an autograph or photo.

By the time I arrived to my Village I was welcomed by family, friends and relatives I had never known about.

What made the experience all the more special was that the President of South Sudan was also present.

I had no idea how big of a name I was over there; there were kids wearing Melbourne United jerseys and knew exactly how my basketball was going, thanks in part to Youtube!

It was such an amazing experience and the first thing I did when I came back to Melbourne was reintegrate with the local Sudanese community – because there are so many kids in this city that love playing basketball and really look up to me as a mentor and role model.

It has been frustrating as of late to read the local headlines targeted towards the Sudanese community.

Every time I look at the news, or check out Facebook, I see the stories focused on a minority of the Sudanese kids causing trouble and community unrest.

In reality, it is a small minority really bringing down the majority of Sudanese children who are doing the right thing; staying in school, looking to get an education and be better people, because they understand that many of their family and friends back home don’t have the same opportunity in life as they do.

It’s another reason why I am so involved in the city’s Sudanese population, and why I am a constant face at their local basketball games.

I want them to know I am around, so that they have someone they can look up to and be reminded that good things can happen to them too if they continue to work hard in the classroom or on the basketball court.

I want them to know they can make a real difference in their community no matter what their passion for life is.

And I will be here to help them every step of the way.

Majok Majok

Majok Majok is an Australian basketball player currently signed with Melbourne United in the National Basketball League (NBL).

He trained with the Dallas Mavericks during the NBA Summer-League.