Matisse Thybulle: Australian basketball star, artistic defender and vlogging sensation

SAITAMA, JAPAN - JULY 31: Matisse Thybulle #10 of Team Australia drives past Johannes Thiemann #32 of Team Germany for a dunk during the second half of a Men's Basketball Preliminary Round Group B game on day eight of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Saitama Super Arena on July 31, 2021 in Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
SAITAMA, JAPAN - JULY 31: Matisse Thybulle #10 of Team Australia drives past Johannes Thiemann #32 of Team Germany for a dunk during the second half of a Men's Basketball Preliminary Round Group B game on day eight of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Saitama Super Arena on July 31, 2021 in Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Boomer, who plies his trade for the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA, has been in scintillating form for Australia who are hunting a medal at Tokyo 2020. 

For some, catching Matisse Thybulle in Australia’s Boomers' basketball colours at Tokyo 2020, in 2021 still comes as a surprise.

The Australian-American, who holds dual citizenship courtesy of living in Sydney, Australia for seven years as a child, elected to compete for the team Down Under and made his debut in the pre-Olympic Games exhibition tournament in Las Vegas.

He was part of the team that shockingly downed the apparent indomitable U.S. men’s basketball team 91-83.

Now two wins from two in Tokyo, it’s safe to say Thybulle has been warmly embraced by Boomer stars Patty Mills, Joe Ingles and Aron Baynes.

The 24-year-old is a relative newcomer to the NBA; the 2021 season marks the completion of his second year for the Philadelphia 76ers. Nevertheless, the 24-year-old has stormed the 2021 season with his defensive prowess, and to Australian joy, is replicating that same form in Japan’s capital.

In Australia’s first game of the competition against Nigeria, in just 23 minutes of play, Thybulle put up seven points, four rebounds, two assists and five steals to help lift his side to 84-65 win.

Against Italy, in their second match win 86-83, Thybulle – standing at 1.96m – put every inch of his height to use to deliver seven points, four assists, three bounds one steal and one block. He shot two-from-three from the floor and didn’t even hesitate for the one triple he put up.

As each game arrives the guard’s value on the floor is increasing. Read on to learn more about the Aussie star.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 10:  Patty Mills #5 of the Australia Boomers celebrates with teammate Matisse Thybulle #22 after Mills hit a 3-pointer against Argentina at the end of regulation of their exhibition game for an 87-84 win at Michelob ULTRA Arena ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games on July 10, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 10: Patty Mills #5 of the Australia Boomers celebrates with teammate Matisse Thybulle #22 after Mills hit a 3-pointer against Argentina at the end of regulation of their exhibition game for an 87-84 win at Michelob ULTRA Arena ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games on July 10, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Matisse Thybulle: delivering defending artistry in the NBA

Born in Scottsdale, Arizona when Thybulle’s family relocated to Australia for seven years, he barely touched a basketball.

Life abroad was more about swimming and emulating lifeguards then it was about being a basketball guard. It wasn’t until in 2005, when the young Thybulle returned to America, that he truly got into his sport.

Thybulle graduated Eastside Catholic High School in 2015 and chose to attend the University of Washington. With the Huskies Thybulle’s defending capabilities began to shine. In 2019 the guard clinched a stream of awards celebrating his blocking prowess. Among them the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year 2019 and the 2019 First-team All-Pac-12.

In July of the same year Thybulle entered the NBA draft and was selected by the Sixers in the first round with the 20th overall pick, and by October, he was making his NBA debut and with impact. The rookie came off the bench in a 107-93 win over the Boston Celtics with three points, a rebound, an assist, two steals and two blocks.

In his second season, the young gun has continued to make a name for himself courtesy of his 2.1m wingspan and lengthy defensive reach, Thybulle was recognised in the NBA All-Defensive Second Team even though he only averaged 20 minutes per game.

Thybulle: social media phenom

In order to keep the 2019-2020 season alive through the global COVID-19 pandemic the NBA created an isolation zone at Walt Disney World in Florida, to protect players and officials while the continued the competition.

Known more familiarly as the “NBA Bubble”, 22 NBA teams uprooted to the confined environment so that they could compete behind closed doors.

To keep basketball fans connected, and show them novel life inside the bubble environment, Thybulle created a vlog series detailing the players’ movements, feelings and day-to-day life in confinement.

There were glimpses of food, jokes, how players kept themselves entertained outside of competition and how they adjusted to all the new health protocols.

The documentary series proved so popular that when the Sixers were knocked out of the competition fans begrudged Thybulle’s exit. 

Now the basketball star has amassed over 436,000 followers on his YouTube channel.

Fortunately for fans of Thybulle, both old and new, the player has started a new series detailing his experience with the Boomers. The videos entitled “Road to Tokyo” include the guard enjoying a notoriously Australian barbecue with Ingles and Mills.

The class of 2021: Bring on the challengers
04:23

There was the Dream Team, the Redeem Team, and this is the class of 2021. The US men's basketball team suffered two shock defeats in warm-up games ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021. The NBA stars don't seem to be too concerned.

How to watch Matisse Thybulle in action at Tokyo 2020

To find out how you can watch new Boomer Thybulle compete for Australia at the Games click here.

You can also follow all the action from the games on our Live Blog here.