May 2, 2023 - Sports

Texan Mason Cox has become an Aussie football star

A giant man in an Australian rules football uniform is slapping hands with fans

Mason Cox is big in Australia. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

A 6-foot-11 engineer from Texas has become a surprising star in the Australian Football League.

Driving the news: Mason Cox, who played soccer at Marcus High School in Flower Mound before becoming a walk-on basketball player at Oklahoma State, was recently profiled on "60 Minutes."

The very big picture: Cox had never heard of Australian rules football when an AFL scout invited him to a combine in Los Angeles.

Yes, but: Cox's size and agility made him perfect for a sport that involves leaping for the ball when it's thrown or bounced back into play. So he declined a job at ExxonMobil and moved Down Under.

  • Today he's a standout forward for Melbourne's Collingwood Magpies, the AFL's equivalent of the Dallas Cowboys — and the tallest player in league history.

Context: Originating in the mid-1800s to help cricket players stay fit, Aussie football might be the most brutal sport on Earth.

What happened: When Cox made his debut in 2016, in a big rivalry game played on a national holiday, he still had questions about the rules.

  • As the Australian national anthem played, Cox told "60 Minutes," he didn't know a word.
  • Cox scored with his first kick.

Since then: He's now a fan favorite, embracing Australia so intensely that he became an Australian citizen.

  • Cox has had plenty of bloopers — and a few injuries. In 2019 he was raked across the eyes and temporarily blinded. Now he wears goggles.

What they're saying: "He's got that chip, that 'Hey, I'm gonna prove a lot of people wrong,'" Collingwood head coach Craig McRae told "60 Minutes."

The bottom line: If the AFL eventually has a sizable American contingent, they'll have Cox to thank.


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