Fiji's Fox racks up rebounds on the court, stacks up assists off the hardwood
SUVA (Fiji) - Fiji are a Pacific Games powerhouse.
There's no other simple way to put it. They are the only national team aside from Guam to have made it to all Semi-Finals of the games of the past 30 years, even winning it all in 2007.
"It's been incredibly important to me to represent Fiji at the Pacific Games. Not too many people have the opportunity to represent their country and I never take it for granted."
That's why the team and their key pieces like Joshua Fox always set the bar high for what they aim to achieve when they hit the court, notably at the upcoming Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands from 17-25 November.
"I have massive expectations for us," said Fox. "Our entire team shares them and understands what they are. We look back on the past tournaments and we are all disappointed so we are motivated and hungry."
Their rich history is why players like Fox take so much pride in being a part of the national team program, representing the country on an international stage.
"It’s been incredibly important to me to represent Fiji at the Pacific Games," said Fox. "Not too many people have the opportunity to represent their country and I never take it for granted."
Fox has been nothing short of spectacular anytime he puts on the national team jersey. At the FIBA Asia Cup Pre-Qualifiers back in 2019, he was one of the most productive players in the competition with 29.3 EFF while averaging 21.7 points, 17.3 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game. At the Pacific Games in the same year, he averaged 13.0 points and 12.2 rebounds per game. More recently at the FIBA Melanesian Basketball Cup in 2022, he averaged 12.5 points and 12.3 boards per contest.
The numbers confirm that Fox is more than an accomplished player on the court, as his collegiate career at UC Davis suggests as well. Now after all of that, Fox is looking a bit further into the future in terms of what he can do other than suiting up and giving it his all on the court.
"Representing has allowed me to build relationships with so many people while helping to push the game of basketball forward in our country. In the sense of the competition itself, these games are vital building blocks for us to elevate Fiji basketball. We have great aspirations and goals to achieve. And I hope to set a standard and precedence that our younger players can build upon."
He's optimistic about what he sees ahead, too.
"I’m excited for the future of Fiji Basketball," said Fox. "We have amazing staff and volunteers who are making great decisions. It has almost felt stagnant in the past but now our leadership has a strong plan in place. We have great talent in our country as well as abroad but giving them opportunities and access to grow is the most important thing and Fiji Basketball is building to that."
Fox is only 29 years old and no one would blame him for putting more focus on getting the most out of his basketball career for himself at this point and stage, but the 1.98M (6'6") forward is - and has always been - passionate about giving back to the Fijian community that has always supported him.
"Giving back to Fiji has always been important to me from a young age," he said. "When my family moved to the USA we were only able to get on our feet under us because of the Fijian community.
"I will forever be grateful and will never be able to repay them. So I’m doing whatever I can to help no matter how big or small."
It's been a long journey for Fox to be where he is and through that journey, he revealed two instances that inspired him to pay it forward.
"The first was seeing my mom pack and send things back to Fiji despite us not having much," he told Athletes for Hope in an interview in 2022. "The second was kids and adults messaging me from Fiji. I never realized the impact and reach I had on people back home. It became clear that I have more influence than I could have imagined."
He states that he is currently focused "on clothes, school & work supplies, non-perishables, and shoes", but his "long-term goal is to create a nonprofit focused on giving back to Fiji".
This sport was the medium that allowed Fox to be able to do all of that and more.
"Basketball was my getaway when we moved to the States," he said. "As a stranger to everyone basketball made it easy to feel comfortable and like I belonged. Basketball gives people of different backgrounds and situations commonality where friendships are born and you all come together for one goal. The team is more important than the self and many great lessons are learnt from the game. I use basketball to bring down the walls of others so that they trust me and feel comfortable asking for help."
"The opportunities I had because of all the help we received allowed me to have experiences and doors opened for me that have given me a wide reach. Relationships I build through these opportunities help me to give back.
"I’ve been blessed by my community and I want to leave behind something that will outlive me and be impactful enough to push the Fijian community forward."