For Perth Wildcats recruit James Ennis, the South Perth bank of the Swan River is physically and figuratively a world away from his US home.
No longer does Ennis fear the hails of bullets or the beatings that dotted his childhood in a Californian housing project.
Instead his basketball talent has become a financial saviour for his poor family who have lived from one welfare payment to the next.
The 23-year-old, who remains the property of the NBA's Miami Heat, said his move Down Under - having never before even met an Australian - came with the dual purpose of providing for his family and also making them proud. Without the game that has allowed him that chance, he admits his life could have faced dire consequences.
"I could have been on the streets selling drugs, or I could have been a good role model for my brothers and sisters and I wanted to set a high bar for them," Ennis said.
"Some of my friends actually quit and started gang-banging and doing drugs, but I just loved basketball and that's what I did. If I didn't choose this path, I'd probably be in jail right now. Without God, I think we would have broke. Now my family are my motivation."
Ennis said his family were often forced to move home during his childhood, he and his five siblings regularly squeezed into one bedroom. His father was a building site painter, but his mother battled to find work after suffering a nerve-based disability which worsened from an initial hand injury.
While the local basketball court provided a regular escape from the dangers that surrounded it, being the only black family in a largely Hispanic community was often frightening. "It was dangerous," he recalled. "You couldn't even walk to the West Park court. My friend got jumped just going to play basketball. They beat him up and there were a lot of gunshots that night. It was a little hectic.
"Basically, I had to watch my back every time I stepped out of the house because you never knew what was going to happen."
He said contact with his family through internet devices such as Skype was now helping him deal with strong homesickness.
His intense training sessions with Wildcats teammates was giving him a handle on the Australian "lingo", but he was still getting used to expensive food prices. Still, he claimed Perth already felt like home.
"I'm in a good place and it can't be better than this, so I'm enjoying my time while I can," he said.