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Saturday, October 11th, 2008 at 11:55 pm  |  163 responses

State Of Australian Hoops, Pt. 1

The international game is strong, and SLAMonline is ready to back it.

While SLAMonline generally focuses on basketball in the contiguous 48 states (and Toronto too!), we certainly recognize the game’s rapid international expansion. So it’s with a warm welcome that we offer the first of two two pieces regarding the state of Australian basketball.

by Todd Spehr

For the precious few who hold the distinction of being both Australian and a basketball tragic (I proudly tick both boxes) then your life is met with one simple fact: The country of your origin and the game of your devotion do not have a harmonious relationship.

So when I was asked to write a piece about the state of Aussie hoops, I was faced with a decision – write this as a credible journalist (after all, that’s what I’m striving for, right?) or write this is an angry, bitter and frustrated fan ready and willing to go Artest on those who I feel are responsible for what it has become.

All anyone needs to know is the game is at a crossroads here in Australia. Then again, it’s been at a crossroads for going on a decade. Crazy part is, our national teams are very good (the women are perennial Olympic silver medalists while the men are on the rise), more youth hoop now than ever, and FIBA has Australia ranked as the second-best basketball nation in the world (behind You Know Who) defies logic when you consider the level of despair the game is currently carrying with it in its own country.

So what’s the problem?

As the sole provider of basketball coverage in Australia, Handle Magazine editor Brad Graham has a fair idea: “The game is very healthy on the national level and at the grassroots level. It’s the in-between–the professional league–where the problems are.”

That professional league, the NBL, is so poorly configured that a reform has been created with hopes to make basketball relevant in Australia again. The Australian Sports Commission proposed reforms–highlighted by a smaller league, aggressive promotion, better sponsorships, community relations and overall structure–are a good idea. In theory. But as Graham added, “the right structure is irrelevant with the wrong people.”

The NBL turned into a How Not To manual for professional sporting organizations. They have consistently shown no foresight, no marketing plan, no relationship or connection with the community, and a stubbornness that has seen them end up on life support, complete with a shot clock.

Do we really need hindsight to see that the decision to switch the competition from winter to summer was a bad one? It was actually called by then-chairman Mal Speed “one of the league’s greatest moves.” Really? Giving fans the decision of a head-to-head of NBL vs. NBA was a good thing? Believing it could squeeze into the Aussie summer culture was wise?

While that move continues to boggle the mind, the one that possibly stings more is the NBL’s long-standing tradition of being a separate entity to each franchise under its umbrella. When the teams lost a combined $7 million in 2007, and when three folded prior to this season, the NBL was distanced.

Want more? The promotion of the game to the general public isn’t near acceptable. Unlike the NBA, the players here aren’t thrown to the people, or placed in a position where they can be worshiped. Instead, the NBL and Basketball Australia (both of which will be destroyed should the proposed reform be given the green light) seem to be stuck somewhere in the pre-millennium, oblivious to the potential relationship between modern culture and basketball that exists so well in the US.

Without doubt, the biggest indicator of this fact is the place in mainstream that both Andrew Bogut and Lauren Jackson currently occupy. Bogut, he of NCAA POY/former no. 1 pick/$72 million contract fame, has seen his impressive body of work go largely overlooked by an uninformed public. Jackson, despite perhaps being the best female baller on the planet, is known by name, but not game.

Spare a thought for Patrick Mills or Penny Taylor. Mills is by far the most exciting guard to come out of Australia in, like, forever. But it took an impressive Olympic campaign for his name to be publicly uttered, this despite a blazing freshman season at Saint Mary’s (CA). The November night he dropped 37 on Oregon should have been compulsory viewing for any hoop-dreamin’ Australian kid with a TV set, but it barely drew mention, let alone attention from a TV exec. Taylor, on the other hand, has quietly compiled a fine career overseas; the perfect compliment to Jackson on our national squad also owns a WNBA title, but not a place in the Aussie conscience.

This is where the frustration comes in. The game is fine. The people playing it are fine. As Brian Goorjian, national team coach and longtime contributor to Australian hoops said last week, “the talent’s [right now] the best it’s ever been.” Too bad, because the chasm between player and fan has perhaps never been wider.

Don’t get me wrong, this reform is a step in the right direction. But honestly, it’s hard not to be skeptical. Good intentions are still just good intentions, right? Heck, the NBL had a management overhaul eleven years ago and things became worse. Hardly the ideal track record. As Graham added: “The fans are practically saying ‘get it right so we care again!’”

As odd as it sounds, the game will survive. There will always be people here who love basketball. And there will be some, like me, who probably care too much. The ones who want to see it thrive so bad they’re willing to say anything. But it’s time things changed. Why? Because they can, and because there’s an opportunity to make things right. If they don’t, things will get worse before they get better.

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  • rhenasium

    first!!!

  • LAN

    THANKS SLAM for putting this up…. first thing the nbl needs to do is get free to air tv!!

  • rhenasium

    and that is weird since i am australian and a massive hoops fan.

  • Todd Spehr

    LAN, just so you know, the last NBA game to air on free-to-air TV was Game 5 of the ’99 NBA Finals between San Antonio and New York. Sad, huh? As for the NBL, it has been relegated to an edited broadcast on Sunday mornings, hardly primetime viewing, wouldn’t you say?

  • WOOOZE

    I’m a big Austalian N.B.A. fan, but couldn’t care less for the N.B.L.
    Never been to a game, and I have no idea who is favorite for the title or anything this season.
    The N.B.L has to come on free-to-air T.V. before alot of basketball (mainly N.B.A.) fans, including myself, will take interest in the sport.
    Put in on free-to-air T.V. and I will follow it, but I do agree that the league needs to be reformed. I would prefer if a new league with more teams was created, but it looks more likely that the league will shrink in terms of number of teams.

  • art

    The NBL really needs a do over. Scrap it and restart it.

    Foxtel shows NBL, NBA and Euroleague…worth the cost to watch basketball. Anyway, Sport in general is never on free-to-air anymore unless League or AFL.

  • slayer

    aussie hoops really does need more attention. i think the wnbl is aired on abc, but nbl does not seem to have much media coverage. the olympics was great though because it has introduced the likes of bogut, mills, jackson and taylor to australians (including me, which is why i am a big hoops fan now). what aus basketball needs is these big names to join the (w)nbl leagues to bring some more recognition. it may difficult considering the nba and nbl overlap, but if the reforms are changed to accomodate this, it would be a huge boost.

  • mitch

    Thank u for this artical. Did u know that cory hommiced Williams played in the nbl? I did.

  • http://www.gmail.com serevei

    its all about money
    government should pay for free to air sport soon cricket will probably only be on fox

  • http://moneybills2cents.blogspot.com/ Money Bill Williams

    Todd that was incredible! I share the exact same thoughts about the lack of hoops in this here country. one little thing, but you could have mentioned that the vast majority of the problems of the nbl have to do with marketing/ media attention? In wollongong, our paper runs nearly the whole sports section to the hawks daily, but drive up to the bigger market in sydney and they ain’t know whats going on.

    Remembering back to the early 90′s when i was just a lil kid i remember Dwayne Mclains face up on billboards all over George Street. You had Leroy Loggins, Gaze and Ricky Grace just starting out. These people could be identified by the community.

    Now other than Corey Williams (only truly known by die hard hoop fans in aus) there is no bankable stars in the league or no recognisable cult figures the community can identify with.
    A couple of years ago when Roland Roberts was the import for the Sydney Kings, they put his face on taxi’s all around Syd. All these people were walking round saying who the f*ck is this in that weird purple uniform. The league needs to identify key individuals that could be bankable to the broader casual ball fan.

    This just me rambling but if you or any other person out there (not just Aussie) has conflicting ideas or who is experiencing this type of basketball cruelty in there place of residence then please feel free to email me as I am open to hearing about it

  • http://moneybills2cents.blogspot.com/ Money Bill Williams

    @serevei, cricket will always be on free to air television as long as alcohol companies such as CUB are sponsoring it. They want their product to be seen by the masses

  • Charger Tom

    homicide should try sign a deal with the Knicks or something, they’ll sign anyone.

  • LAN

    @Todd: i dont even think they have that anymore…… last season they did and it was cut down to fit into like a 30 minute time slot…. terrible…… and i have no idea why we cant get 5000 people to every game i mean so many people in australia play the sport and it is such an exciting sport……

    somebody told me the other day that basketball was a boring sport to watch… fun to play but boring to watch…. i went off… what fr*ggen sport is he watching? or u 12 e grade girls or somthing… basketball is the most exciting game to watch and the public needs to find that out and the only way we can do that is have it free to air tv!

  • http://mykal1.blogspot.com/ ♦MyKal♠

    Even on Fox, it was still a joke. They’ve got to Americanize the NBL. They’ve got to lengthen the 3 point arc, hype up important match-ups and get announcers who know what they’re talking about. Then it will seem like less of a let down to NBA fans.

  • http://mykal1.blogspot.com/ ♦MyKal♠

    I remember watching a game, breakers vs razors, (I think) after I watched cavs vs celts overtime thriller. The (NBL) game was a massive anticlimax, so much so that I fell asleep during the second quarter. I’m not hating on the NBL here, just sharing valuable life experiences.

  • Majic

    great to see this up, hoops here dont get much coverage and our domestic leagues crappy

  • http://moneybills2cents.blogspot.com/ Money Bill Williams

    mykal, the first comment you made was my point exactly

  • andrew

    I think the major problem is that, especially where I live, basketball is a second tier sport, behind football and cricket, and for the girls, netball. Loads of kids play in my area, but it seems basketball is just another sport kids play, rather than the one they will continue to play into their late teens and adulthood. Until basketball becomes a sport that kids want to play first, they will inevitably stray towards the football codes and cricket as their main activities and spectator sports, and basketball will be left behind.
    Side note that may be interesting to some: when a professional basketballer in Australia retires, they either have very smart business acumen and have a job outside of basketball, or, they end up like Lanard Copeland, who, for better or worse, is now my Spalding (Russel Athletic) sales representative for my store.

  • buggsie7_aus

    The NBL should be good again after this season when they make it smaller because it will mean there will be more talented players on each team which will make it more exiting to watch and I agree that it should be put on free to air TV because that way more people will watch.

  • LAN

    good point andrew about it being a 2nd tier sport….. does lanard copeland really work for you?!

  • Todd Spehr

    @ Money Bill: Those who I spoke to about this article pinpointed the marketing as a major problem with the NBL. Someone far more knowledgeable than I even went as far as saying the NBL doesn’t “prostitute” its players like, say, the AFL for example. I was in Melbourne this weekend and at every train station there were posters promoting next weeks Tigers-Dragons game but couldn’t actually identify the player on the poster – how can that be? Look, we both know the talent will always be inferior (to the NBA), but there’s no reason the game can’t take its place in society as it once did.

  • Todd Spehr

    @ Andrew: Oddly enough, statistics show that only cricket and the football codes outweigh hoops as far as youth participation. But I agree, it is a second-tier sport here – treated like a foreign object

  • Kirk Penney

    Hi there, Kirk here. I agree, basketball needs to be promoted. Basketball here in NZ needs promoting, even though our Breakers games are free-to-air in Maori TV, the odd casual person wouldn’t even notice it. I agree, our league has inferior talent compared to NBA but that alone doesn’t hinder our league from being significant. I mean, in NZ, there’s league, union, cricket. Those sports are the one’s that the government is funding majorly. Well look at that, what about basketball? Every year we conduct camps for youth around our area. The talent is there, why can’t they help us develop them to ensure our future, Australia and New Zealand. Breakers are fortunate that everytime we play, we nearly have a sell out, night in-night out. The government needs to help us, fund NZ Basketball I suppose. The talent is there, we have got a good future but we just need help.

  • Kirk Penney

    I’ve got a good story for you SLAM readers. Last week while we were doing some promo stuff for Harver Norman and Burger King. CJ Bruton walked up to this guy in BK, giving out flyers. Then this guy just said, “Hey mate, I don’t need that, I need my tomato sauce.” Good thing CJ kept his cool, But I knew right there and then that NZ Basketball is pathetic right now. I mean, even though CJ’s an Oz, the man could’ve at least recognised him. CJ’s a LEGEND. That’s how far we’ve come. NZ and Australia Basketball needs help, whether it be aggressive promotion or as what you guys suggest “free-to-air”. But we all know that at the current state, no one want to sponsor our teams. Lucky enough for us, we got Harvey, BK, and Pak N’ Save.

  • peteb80

    Another point is that Australians are kind of spoiled by being world class in various other sports, while they know that their basketball league is probably not even in the top 15 in the world.

  • woodley3

    Footy and cricket suck, i hate em both. i only play ball and whenever i tell anyone this they can’t believe it. no cares about basketball! and on the subject of lanard copeland he coaches the geelong cats (reserves of the supercats in the SEABL and ABA) i think they play like Big V or something. actually they’re not really reserves. kinda more like youth team.

  • Kirk Penney

    BTW, Todd. I’m an avid reader of SLAM, whether reading it on my laptop on the way to road games or sitting at home after a hard practice. Good job on your articles. And I’m sure I’m not the only Pro-player who’s reading SLAM. Keep up the good work mate. Cheers!

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com hursty

    In most areas of Australia, basketball is a 3rd tier sport. 2nd is stretching it. I doubt that changing the currrent NBL and BA will help make the game more attractive to younger fans, even if it helps shore up the League financially.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com hursty

    The coaching is here. Its just not utilised effectively. Oh, and the Part 2 is done by me.

  • Todd Spehr

    @ peteb80: While our talent will always be inferior to both the NBA and Euro leagues, the way the game has been run is where the real problem is. The game hasn’t really been given a chance to thrive.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com hursty

    Nice piece Todd. Hopefully I can add to that. The recommendations by the report are all well and good, but the implementation of those ideas could be an issue…

  • Kirk Penney

    Todd, I agree. But I don’t want to elaborate since I am not allowed to do so under Terms and Agreements of being in the NBL, but I’m sure you know how the league’s been ran.

  • Dave

    I went to every single game of the Brisbane Bullets single game of the Brisbane Bullets championship season. They won 17 games in a row. Sam McKinnon walked away with the MVP, Ebi Ere brought the rain every night. They regularly destroyed opponents by twenty or thirty points. They played full court press every night ALL NIGHT. The last game they lost in the regular season was a back to back, they opened the revenge game 17-2 and destroyed the opponent’s leading scorer. Sam Mack dropped 36 and had a dozen boards and three steals, blocks and assists.

    Every game half the season ticket seats were empty. There was nothing about it mentioned anywhere on the news. I can’t even watch highlights on YouTube, which is how I follow the action on the NBA.

    Last season I saw Homicide drop twenty in the fourth on the Bullets. I paid $18 for a baseline ticket. YouTube? Fox? Free-to-air? The newspaper? Anything? Nope.

    Why does nobody care? The NBL is it’s own worst enemy.

    The NBL’s website is a piece of crap – last season the player stats were listed as a JPEG file, you couldn’t even cut and paste the scorelines to email your buddies ; this season the ppg average isn’t even listed as a statistic.

    This season the Bullets folded. For our American readers, that’s our third largest market – imagine the Bulls falling down after the ’98-99 season and you’ll get some idea of how mind-boggling that is.

    This year the Melbourne Tigers managed to make an even bigger joke of the salary cap than the Bullets did and now have the ’05/06 & ’07/08 MVP (Anstey) and the ’07/08 scoring leader and MVP runner up (Ere) and the ’06/07 MVP (MacKinnon). These guys are the defending champs – and the 2nd and 3rd team of last season (Bullets and Kings) have collapsed. Who the hell is going to bother watching the NBL this year with a competition like that? The only reason you could want to watch it is trying to work out how they managed to start the season 3-2, which I think could only be called morbid curiosity. The ‘acting’ league commissioner (for how long now?) Chuck Harmison (recipient of basketball’s all-time greatest hospital pass) even admitted that the league has no way of policing the salary cap. In public. Any publicity is good publicity? Actually, I think Chuck’s at a place where it’s been so long since he saw good publicity he thinks there’s only bad, so goes with what he has.

    It was only a couple of seasons ago the expansion Dragons and Slingers were hailed as being the brainchildren of great marketing and basketball minds – the South Dragons had no home in the name (where is ‘South’, exactly?) and the mascot name of one of Australia’s oldest and most loved rugby league teams (I look forward to the Seattle White Sox making an appearance in the NBA in 2012), then hired Mark Price over people who actually had (in some cases extremely good) coaching experience. Price was fired after six games. Now it’s been revealed that the Singapore team had to pay the airfares for every other team to fly to and from it’s home games, which I would expect would like flying to Hawaii – but with another nation’s taxes and laws and exchange rates to deal with, too. When it appealed this year – and I’m blown away the Slingers even accepted the condition in the first place – for the expense to be pooled between the League, the NBL gave a flat no. The Slingers left the league and I can’t say I blame them.

    I love basketball. I love watching live basketball. I spent a significant amount of my income on NBL games the last few years. Now there’s no reason to. It sucks. The best thing to do would be to euthanase it and start again. Nothing will be done to improve it when the foundation of the business, the construction and running of the league are as utterly hopeless as in the NBL. Anything else – television, marketing, ‘Americanising’, prostituting the player’s image – must come second or there will be no professional league and the sport’s popularity will drop and the motivation to achieve at the highest level will vanish.

    Bring on the ABL season 2009. I hope the Brisbane Bullets license is honoured by the new league, but if not… it’s a price fans like me will have to pay – willingly – to get the game back on it’s feet.

  • cozza

    Basketball in Australia is in a depressing state.
    Everybody here can see it. Long gone are the glory days of the eighties (or so I am told, I wasn’t there). However, there are still people here who live and breath the game, all year long. But the problem is, they don’t live and breathe NBL, they live and breath NBA and College ball. Why? Because it’s better, and you can’t even get the NBL on Pay TV. They NBL lost 2 of it’s most relevant franchises, in the Brisbane Bullets and Sydney Kings, alienating people in Australia’s biggest markets. I can still remember when you could go into the Lang Park gym and see the Bullets signs on the walls. Those days are gone. There are the people though, who believe in the game, who want to see it succeed. It would be great to be able to see top-quality Pro basketball on a given night in the major cities. The NBL put its eggs into small communities, which wasn’t going to work. A new league should have teams in the following cities: Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, a North Queensland team, swapping games between Cairns and Townsville, Adelaide, Perth and an AIS based development team in Canberra. All this being said, the NBL won’t be able to curb the enthusiasm and demand for the NBA and NCAA game. And besides, I’m getting sick of the only sport in Summer being Cricket. It’s boring as all hell, and then AFL, Super 14 and the NRL replace cricket in Winter. Whilst I have nothing against the NRL and occasional Super 14 game, AFL is too boring and over hyped.

  • Sanchez

    I think most of you guys here are spot on. The NBL just need to endear themselves to the community more. Its all about perception. If asked to name an NBL player most these days would still say Andrew Gaze who hasn’t played in about 3 years!

    Let the public know who these athletic, skillful, passionate, hardworking players are! Anyone (of the 37 people) who saw the Grand Final series last season between the Tigers (go tigers!) and the now defunct Sydney Kings (seriously, who goes from being in the grand final to not even being!!) knows how good our league can be.

    Also they need Gazey and Steve Carfino to commentate every game. forget that tosser dwayne casey or whatever his name is. those two guys together are hilarious! They have such good chemistry (no homo)are entertaining and both actually know what they’re talking about.

  • Sanchez

    How about some sort of pathway from local junior development squads to each of the NBL teams. A “junior” nbl. Each NBL team would represent a certain geographical region, of course this would mean the domination from both sydbey and melbourne based teams so it wouldn’t quite work on a senior level so something would ahve to give there. perhaps the teams get priority to pick a certain number their regions players. I’m too tired to think of how to intergrate this from junior to senior levels exactly but this would def bring a sense of ownership in communities to their teams therefore creating a solid fanbase.

    I think the basketball public really does want to want the nbl, they just need a reason to want it!

  • Kirk Penney

    Sanchez: We do have a “Junior” Team version of the NZ Breakers. It’s more like our scrimmage team when we practice here in NZ. And sometimes, some of them get called up in case of unfortunate injuries. In one case, when Paul Henare was out because of family stuff. We had to call one of our guys up to fill a roster spot.

    And I think you are right that people would love NBL IF only they knew it existed. Like I said, we had many tours,promotions around NZ and once the people knew about it, they become more and more interested.

  • Kirk Penney

    Alright people, We (Breakers, in case you do not know) have a game against the Blaze on the 16th, wish us luck!!!

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Sanchez, the junior NBL teams idea isnt bad but no-one would watch it. Also, it would be South Australia and Victoria. Not NSW.
    @Cozza- The ‘hey day’ as it were, was in the early to mid 90′s. Teams were averaging over 5,000 in attendance- you barely got 5,000 in the Grand Finals series.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    *5,000 in the G.F Series last year sorry.

  • William

    Tickets for a Sydney Kings game was more then that of the footy, cricket or any other sport in Australia and your not even watching the best of the best, at least with the other codes except soccer you are.
    The imports are below average D-League players who can’t make it into the NBA and the website is a joke.

  • Sanchez

    @Hursty. its not about the ratings for the junior nbl, its more about creating a pathway because atm it goes: local junior development squad to state league then national squad and then it just stops and young players either go to college in America or go through the ABA (or whatever its called these days, anyway the 2nd tier national competition) in their region. There is no real natural progression.

    Maybe each of the NBL teams “junior” squad could participate in a revamped 2nd tier competition and then create what the AIS bball team has now except that it would be on a more regional level.It wouldn’t neccessarily be about people coming to watch them because they’re there for the development of the game and our players.

    Its very hard becasue we don’t have the same college/university set up that America has. I just think that there is a missing link there between popularity of the game with the under 12′s and 14′s and our elite level programs. Its a real challenge with influence from the NBA and locally with the fame and (relative) fortune of the AFL (I’m victorian so rugby doesn’t exist. And especially after the Storm forgetting to play the Grand Final, I’m gald I think that way!).

    I also believe there is an opportunity within Asia to provide incentives through competition, as the A-League has done in football (soccer). This is something that the rivaling sports such as the other “football” (is it really FOOTball if you can use your hands? An argument for another time!) codes can offer. Well i guess my Vic bias is thinking just AFL. Imagine a young 14/15 male is at the crossroads of a potential NBL or AFL career. I think the chance of playing for Australia more often, or indeed and possibly more so representing your club for an Asian Championship make him give bball more of a look? This Asian championship is obvioulsy not something for the NBL itself to look at and more a FIBA matter but it could definitely be something the nbl could push for.

  • Ben

    Great article todd, well done.
    I feel your pain everyone. It is depressing being a hoops fan in Australia. It’s a nation absolutely obsessed with sport, but ball gets no love. I’m a Perth fan, go to the games that I can, and the fans that go to games are pretty passionate. But there’s only 4000 tops, while the Eagles can pull 40,000. I reckon hoops fans in Aust take the NBL for granted quite a bit too though – it’s the less spoken about issue – they think there’s no huge dunks, the athleticism isn’t as high, less stardom and hype etc. than the NBA. To have that attitude is to totally miss out on the actual game of basketball itself. I am a fan of the NBL – these guys are out there WORKING HARD, trying to keep the team moving, getting buckets when it’s their turn, playing the game properly. They are all elite athletes. I think the league gets slept on partially because of a nonchalance of young kids who are touting AND1 attitudes and lost in a Lebron haze – meanwhile, most of our own real ball players don’t get a second glance in the street. That story about CJ is TRAGIC! But… The ground-swell of love is growing – you can sense it. Australian hoops time is coming. A revamped system and some free-to-air wouldn’t hurt either.

  • http://dyalekt.com d.Y.

    Nice article. I didn’t know we had so many Aussies up on Slam. I thought it was just Hursty. Are you going through all the Slam reader regions? Whats up with the Virgin Islands article? You can come down here to write it…

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/madlib Michael NZ

    I can’t believe the fool pretending to be Kirk Penney. Loser. Anyway, the NBL used to be on live here in New Zealand on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Now the only games shown are delayed home Breakers games. No away games. No other games. So how can you even follow the league? You can’t. The NBL website is a pathetic joke too. And you know when two of the best teams from the biggest markets drop out that there is a problem. Still though, the Breakers game here on Thursday was SOLD OUT. Oh, and Handle magazine used to on the stands here, but then vanished. I won a pair of shoes once from them, and emailed regularly with the editor. Solid publication.
    And @Ben, that CJ story is rubbish.

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/madlib Michael NZ

    And don’t get me started on the salary cap thing. Breakers couldn’t fit in a second import yet look at Melbournes roster. Makes no sense. And I just cannot emphasise enough how hopeless the NBL website is.

  • aotearaw

    Breakers baby, going for the ‘ship! Oh, and a big LOL @ whoever’s masquerading as Kirk Penney. Seriously though, NZ basketball, whilst admittedly not at Australia’s level internationally, has followed many of the same trends- particularly in it’s struggle against the ‘main’ sports (namely Rugby, Cricket, and League) and coverage starvation of almost famine-like proportions. After the euphoric high of our top 4 finish at the World Champs, retirements and personnel changes have seen us slump back significantly behind the pace, although the Breakers joining the NBL has helped turn a lot more attention on hoops in general.

  • http://moneybills2cents.blogspot.com/ Money Bill Williams

    Michael NZ, if Kirk is a pretender that is kinda lame, but he still has given a valid contribution to this topic so don’t take that away from it

  • aotearaw

    Remember One-on-One magazine? I remember thinking there was always far too much NBL coverage in it….

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/madlib Michael NZ

    A pretender no doubt. For a start Harvey Norman do not sponsor the Breakers. And he wouldn’t be talking about Paul Henares situation on a forum… there is more, but why give this pathetic fu(k more space on here?

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/madlib Michael NZ

    @aotearaw… Haha! I remember. Curse all that NBL content! And oh how I loved the PBT newspaper. Amazing throne reading that was.

  • Sanchez

    They need to find their niche in the market, they can’t promote things like “amazing dunks (Leon Trimmingham is not walking through that door!) etc” because the general bball loving public are too smart and know that the nba is better in this regard. But we do play a good competitive, hard nosed and fairly faced paced game.

    I would like to see more of a presence from the nbl in our local basketball clubs. I can’t remember the last time i saw any sort of poster advertising upcoming games where i play in Ballarat (90 mins west of melbourne). Surely this is most obvious place you would find a potential fanbase! Actually the Dragons did play a (possibly regular season, i cant remember) game here and marketed it strongly selling all types of merchandise and there were posters everywhere. They really endeared themselves to the community an gained alot of exposure an most likely new fans in our area but this was about 2 yrs ago and this type of thing has really been a one off. Sure they can’t come here an play every week but there atleast needs an ongoing presence to build support within these local communities. The fans are out there the nbl just needs to find us!

    Its seems that with the participation rates the game IS very strong at a local level, the big thing is to harness that support and bring it to our national competition.

    BTW anyone remember those limited edition coke cans with nbl players on them? Trimmimgham, Ricky Grace, Shane Heal, that dude from the Gold Coast Rollers, the D-Train(!), D Mac and probably Gazey. Oh how far we have fallen!

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    I thing the NBL front offices are trying to do some things to shake it up, but the biggest notable point I make is that I dont see the movers and shakers in management as basketball fans. As soon as the money dissapeared so did all the good quality management. Where are the Australian Mark Cubans and Stu Jacksons getting involved? Name the commissioner of the NBL?? Is there one?…

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    See Ryne? I told you people cared about basketball in Australia (not that you doubted me).
    There is a market for basketball, but people can only take frustration for so long before they give up on their team.
    1. marketing is non existent
    2. website sucks
    3. no strong youth league
    4. not enough touring squads to the USA
    5. AIS is killing the international prospects of our homegrown players (15 spots? c’mon)
    6. COaching is not utilised effectively
    7. The national mens (and womens) teams were too old. Gaze shouldnt have played last Olympics. Neither should Bevilaqua or Harrower.
    8. The wrong kids are getting the scholarships (you honestly think that a 6’2 white off guard is going to have a bigger impact Internationally or overseas than a 6’10 Sudanese guy? Think people before you sign!.
    9. Private schools have all the best coaches-thats where the money is in coaching.
    10. Coaching focuses on winning for the school- not always improving the quality of players within the team
    11. Changing the season from winter to summer was an awful idea and the sport is reaping the fruits of its labour.
    12. No basketball identity and the sport is constantly in a process of change and flux- where is it heading?
    13. The game is sanitised- touch=foul. Not good.
    Anybody reading these points will understand the majority of what I’m saying, if not all and they can almost certainly agree with it. Its blindingly obvious to basketball outsiders. So whats being done?

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Oh, and not having free to air coverage is BS. THAT is what has killed the game to the average fan.

  • Todd Spehr

    One thing my initial draft had (that didn’t make the final edit) was about the online component – lack thereof. The Boomers official site look straight out of the first days of the Internet, and the NBL’s outreach to the modern fan just hasn’t been up to par.

  • Todd Spehr

    @ Hursty – Not only did MJ’s second retirement (’98) hurt the coverage, but the lockout of ’99 did also. Channel 10 simply opted against showing it anymore, probably fearing a post-MJ NBA didn’t have enough appeal to the free-to-air viewers, as crazy as that sounds.

  • The Ghost of Wilt Chamberlain

    They should scrap the NBL and start an Asia Pac league. 2 elite teams from each country with an elimination tourney at the end. You could take a leaf from the English Premier League and have a Division 2, with two teams from each country. Winner from div 2 moves to Div 1 and wooden spoon from div 1 moves to Div 2.

  • aotearaw

    Who do you think is the most NBA-ready player in the NBL? My vote goes to Chris Anstey, can’t believe that dude hasn’t been picked up yet….7 footer with ALL the skills.

  • aotearaw

    Closely followed by Kirk Penney of course :)

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Yeh Todd, I got to see your original copy. Ryne asked me what I thought of it and wanted feedback- I was just shouting out ‘Yes! yes!’ when I was reading it, it was all so true.
    You dont have a son that goes to Trinity do you? Theres a kid with the same surname there.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    aotearaw- Anstey (pictured) has played for a bunch of NBA teams, he has been in Training Camps, pre-season teams, 10 day contracts and some regular season teams. He’s 33+ or so now though.(As a sidenote)He played in Russia with the guy who wrote ‘Can I Keep My Jersey?’-Paul Shirley.

  • Todd Spehr

    Nah, Hursty, certainly not my kid. I’m only two years out of a college basketball career myself!

  • Dave

    @Wilt. That’s not going to help Australian basketball one iota – the competition would be as low as you could imagine. Not to mention travel expenses sinking that straight up. Nobody is flying Melbourne-Asia on a regular basis. See my previous post re: Singapore.
    @aotearaw – your comment on Anstey pretty much cements everything everyone’s said about Australian ball. Anstey had some breakthrough games as an NBA rookie before injuring his finger and hitting the Wall. I guess his lack of defense wasn’t a problem for Don Nelson. (*cough*)

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/madlib Michael NZ

    Adding Sinapore was stupid and short-sighted and I don’t feel I’m saying that with the benefit of hindsight. I felt that before, during and after their demise.
    Been hearing a bit of talk about re-structuring Oz bball (keeping the NZ Breakers of course) but lord knows a major overhaul is needed.
    Interesting thing is that most here seem to be on the same page – like we know the key issues. So who needs to be a part of this so called re-structuring? Actual basketball people of course. That would be good start.

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/madlib Michael NZ

    @aotearaw – Kirk Penney had his shot. Too slow, poor defender etc etc. Great NBL player though.
    Chris Anstey is terrific and I’ve always liked Glen Savilles game.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Ah well my bad then Todd.

  • Todd Spehr

    No worries…

  • aotearaw

    Michael NZ, yeah I know Kirk’s had his chances bro…just being blindly patriotic :)

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/madlib Michael NZ

    …ain’t nothing wrong with that!

  • http://moneybills2cents.blogspot.com/ Money Bill Williams

    Dacre: Commissioner is Chuck Harmison, before that it was Rick Bruton.BTW I have to say this is my all time fav post on here.

  • Andrew

    To whoever asked earlier(LAN was it?):
    Lanard is a sales rep for Spalding – He sells me the product that I sell in my store. He was coaching in Geelong but gave it up because he was sick of the driving from Mel to Geelong. Just to clarify.

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/madlib Michael NZ

    Love how the subhead reads ‘The international game is strong, and SLAMonline is ready to back it.’ And the article and comments is how fu(ked the Aussie NBL is. Great post and good comments though. Kudos, SLAM. More please.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Money, its Rick Burton (or was).

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    You’ll get more Michael. Just not all on the NBL. But it will be related.

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/madlib Michael NZ

    Did you initiate this Hursty? The response surely has been surprising.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com.au Hursty

    I… indirectly may have had some impact in this piece coming up yes, in a round about way. This was all entirely Todd’s work though. But, more directly I’m doing part two.

  • KayDoub

    Thank you for this article, I really agree with pretty much all that it’s saying. I believe we do have a crop of young guns coming through and the overall standard of ball here is improving. We do have a good level of competition at the junior level (at least where I am-though I wonder if the city of Sydney is split up such that basketball is popular more so and the level of play is better in the north shore, with several clubs up there but very few clubs in other parts of Sydney. Also I consider myself a pretty big basketball fan, and have thought about following the NBL, thoguh ashamedly, I can’t tell you much about the NBL, its players and teams.
    And I totally that coaching is not utilised effectively as mentioned by Hursty…more attention needs to be paid here, there are some great coaches out there, young and old, but it’s like noone really cares or pay attention.
    Also a sidenote, I’ve checked the schedule for this month’s NBA broadcasting on foxtel….no showing of the ring ceremony or season opener of the Celtics?!?! WTF!!!

  • Todd Spehr

    Hursty, as we’d both know, there’s no possible way to cover all the ills of Aussie hoops in under 1200 words; the reason I focused mostly on the NBL was because, I believe, that the lack of structure for our professional league is a big reason for the problems.

    My initial draft was about 1500 words and covered things like TV, relationship with modern culture, and the game’s place in society. Looking forward to Pt 2.

  • http://moneybills2cents.blogspot.com/ Money Bill Williams

    Todd, you can do it in one word: f*cked

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com.au Hursty

    Yeh thanks mate, your piece was real solid and exactly what we/the site/Aussie Hoops needed. My interview took about 3 hours to transcribe all of it, so I think, unfortunately I may have to cut some of it out. Im actually writing/editing it now.
    Look, the NBL is in the middle of a sh*tstorm, and realistically we know it has to get worse (is that even possible?) before it gets better.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com.au Hursty

    lmao @ Money.

  • LAN

    kirk penney…… omg nbl mvp candidate speaking right there :)

  • http://moneybills2cents.blogspot.com/ Money Bill Williams

    @Hurst: my bad, spelling mistake.
    @Kaydoub: what is your local club/rep team?

  • Todd Spehr

    Money Bill, not far wrong

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com.au Hursty

    If BNSW wasnt so fu*king hypocritical then the Western Sydney teams would win every single age-group every single year. No doubt about it.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com.au Hursty

    That ^^ was at Kaydoub. sorry

  • http://moneybills2cents.blogspot.com/ Money Bill Williams

    Bankstown & Parra?

  • http://moneybills2cents.blogspot.com/ Money Bill Williams

    i’m going to commit a mortal sin and say that vic jnr teams > nsw jnr teams

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com.au Hursty

    Man, off topic here, but Fidel Castro is awesome. I dont agree with everything he has done in his time but certainly this. Dude said paid out hard on John McCain regarding his grades at Naval Academy and said that Sarah Palin knew ‘nothing about anything’ in his editorial in the paper today. LMAO!

  • aotearaw

    Whatever happened to the SLAM forum? Bring it back imo

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com.au Hursty

    they are Money. Better coaching and more skillful, multi-dimensional players.
    Not all Parra and Bankstown (not them at all actually). Im talking about Macarthur Spirit (name?), Blacktown.
    The kids there cant afford to pay the Rep fees and dont play. But because average North shore kids can play, they get rep teams because of the number of kids signed up in clubs=more choice.
    Look at Ater Majok. Dude never played rep basketball, state team or regional team and ends up getting A UCONN scholarship fully paid? That idiocy is what Im talking about. BNSW is just dumb financially and socially. ‘Lean a little bit closer and see what roses really smell like’.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com.au Hursty

    I can explain my point more clearly in the article so I wont regurgitate everything here otherwise it’ll seem… boring I spose.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Men at Work.

  • http://www.hoops.com.au/ Isaac

    For anyone still thinking that the posts by “Kirk Penney” in this thread are by Kirk himself, please be assured that they are *not*, and I’ve confirmed as such.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com.au Hursty

    Nice Ben.

  • http://cricketwithballs.com Jrod

    What about the price of the tickets Todd, i paid 5 bucks to see an NBA game in Cleveland and 10 in Memphis, why would i pay 40 bucks to see the melbourne tigers?

    And the titans, what was the go with that, they were made up of so many failed mergers and suburban teams it scared me.

    But we all know what the real problem with the NBL is, no Eastside Spectres.

  • Pingback: Slamonline talking about Australian basketball - OzCardTrader.com.au

  • andrew

    Ben – true. Also: netball.

  • Question

    Nice… most of these comments are on point. Being from NZ I can totally relate to all this… the NBL needs to get a new Marketing Plan and sort out the promotion. The product’s as good as it’s ever been, but the it’s not a case of ‘If we build it, they’ll come’. Bball needs to be pushed extra hard in Auz/NZ to overcome the natural affiliation people field with more traditional sports (usually played with an oval ball down here).

  • Sanchez

    Oval balls suck

  • andrew

    Sanchez: footy is fine. Making yourself hate sports that are more popular than basketball is only going to lead you down a path of bitterness and resentment. I love football, and I would love to see basketball give it a nudge in terms of spectator popularity. Given the choice, naturally I’d always watch or play basketball, but there is little to be gained by being overtly hostile towards other sports. America has proven that three (and sometimes four) major sports can coexist and thrive, both financially and in a more tangible fashion. Granted, we’re talking about ten times the population, but we’re not talking about thirty cities having teams, either.

    @Todd, thanks for the article. Nice job.
    @Hursty – I look forward to yours, mate. Nice work on getting published, albeit in a slightly unusual forum (and I mean that in the best of contexts).

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/ Michael NZ

    Key point is that the product itself really is good right now. You could add Sydney or Brisbane back in and you’d still have quality squads top to bottom. And therefore good games. You don’t have to challenge the NBA for entertainment – that’s just stupid. So then, if that’s the case then why the… the… poor state? Quote “As Graham added: “The fans are practically saying ‘get it right so we care again!’” True words.
    Truth is, with the Breakers (a New Zealand team in the Aussie league) playing well, the crowds have been great, there has been a bunch of marketing on TV, radio and print so there just is no excuse for the garbage coverage, turrible website, poor marketing by the league as a whole. Bottom line: fix it fast before its too late.

  • Todd Spehr

    Good point Michael… the question is though “Is it too late?” … I mean, we’ve been hanging on for a while, have they blown it?

  • andrew

    I just can’t work out how they were able to completely fu(k up a game where there were three (!) Melbourne teams, regularly selling out a 16,000 seat arena in the mid-nineties (I’ve been to less intense NBA games than the Magic-Tigers match-ups on the mid-nineties I went to as a teenager) to me and my friends buying children’s tickets (because nobody checks them at the gates) and picking whatever seats we want to sit in at the Cage on any given night. I was at the game (I’ve said this before…) where Barlow went 14-14 from the floor (8-8 from 3), and there wasn’t even a mention of it on Fox Sports News that night, the only place where you ever get an NBL update on tv. I have to remind myself that that game even happened. 14-14 for chrissakes!

  • bubble-O-bill

    Todd, did you play in the BIG V basketball league once upon a time?

  • KayDoub

    Sorry took me a while to respond Money, I don’t play for any clubs, only in local comps at uni and stuff. But I was involved with coaching a Manly junior reps team this year.

  • andrew

    Also, Sanchez, you raise a very interesting point re: Asian superleague scenario.

    Obviously Singapore was a nightmare (props to my man Vickerman for trying!), but could a regional Asia-Pacific competition be the way forward? Obviously this would be a remarkable and costly effort, but why localise to NZ and Australia? South East Asia is already recognised by the NBA as a burgeoning market to be reckoned with (Philippines being a case in point, at least from a fan base perspective) and every other Asian kid I see in Melbourne rocking at least some form of basketball attire (tenuous evidence, I know, but every street court in Melbourne is constantly home to at least three Asian kids with a Spalding and love for the game)… It could be an entirely viable option for the richer clubs in Australia and NZ (i.e. Tigers/Dragons/Wildcats/Breakers) to join some sort of Oceania league playing top Asian teams and create a real, somewhat globalised competition. This could be a fantastic idea, and not in a Euroleague way where teams have to win to join – an actual league created for Asia Pacific. If the money’s there, the talent will be too. Singapore was a bad move, but could be oddly prescient, if not totally ill-thought out and premature.

  • Marcus

    That was an excellent article Todd. Sadly it’s going to be a very long time before the average Aussie cares about the NBL again.

  • KayDoub

    and oh…missed what you said Hursty….I’m not going to pretend I know a lot about the western sydney clubs but I guess you are right about them. I do agree the cost of playing can be a little expensive. And what I really meant was that I’d be running into a half-decent kid everytime I hit the courts in the north, but not so in the city/bondi/maroubra area, and there is really only one club around this area, being located at Alexandria, considering the population that can afford to pay for reps and stuff, I find suprising.

  • http://moneybills2cents.blogspot.com/ Money Bill Williams

    @KayDoub: Northshore boy eh
    @Andrew: There is an entire different arguement in this forum you have just stirred: local councils innefficiencies to put up street courts in most area’s. there can be the odd court, but how many do you see with a ring cut down. Or behind a 12 ft fence in a school.

  • KayDoub

    @ Money: nah actually I’m in the bondi/city area hahaha….but as i said, there lacks courts and clubs in this area, similarly, i know a couple (and i’m sure there’s more) players from this area that goes and play for other clubs like manly

  • http://moneybills2cents.blogspot.com/ Money Bill Williams

    yeah, thats what i’m talking bout- lack of hoops or hoops that are cut down by fu*king adlays. also i can’t even find a decent pair of basketball shoes in one of the top 10 most populated cities in aus

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com.au Hursty

    Well guys, hopefully I’ll be sending part 2 to Ryne within the week (end of the weekend) so you won’t have to wait too long.

  • andrew

    Money – I’ll contact you through the blog. I can get you hookups. Depending on size…

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com.au Hursty

    hahaha Money. I’ll be up in the city cos of school this week so if you wanna check out Footlocker….lmao.

  • KayDoub

    adlays? didnt kno they were all over sydney now? as for shoes….it’s terrible, you get lik 5 choices….if you are willing to pay a bit more for shipping, my mate suggested Eastbay is a great site.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com.au Hursty

    Yo Money! Gotta change that link my man. Hibachi! Also Andrew I’ll put up a link in a second that you can do all that in on hibachi (click my name).

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com.au Hursty

    Kaydoub you are Australian right? Have you seen Town Hall in Sydney the last 5+years? Jeez.

  • Daniel

    thanks guys 4 putting this in, not much people around the world know how australia is a dedicated and exceptional basketball country, australian players are becoming much more popular overseas especially usa, thanks again, hopefully you can do a full article on this in a slam that’ll just be awesome guys

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com.au Hursty

    OK, Andrew, you can now talk to Money, myself and whoever else about shoes/clothing on hibachi to avoid clogging up the site here (I’m interested by what you have to say mate). Thanks.

  • http://moneybills2cents.blogspot.com/ Money Bill Williams

    Hursty i went footlocker Pitt St after we met up for hooping that day, copped myself some pretty AJ23′s low white and red (Wollongong Hawks colourway lol) yeah i’ll change that link right this sec.

    @Andrew: Yeah man that would be greatly appreciated.

    Adlays everwhere now, just go to a shop that sells nike cross trainers and dryfit shorts or nautica polo’s and you will be overwhelmed! My team that played earlier tonight is called the adlays as well so i just like that word

  • andrew

    Hursty – the link doesn’t work for me… took me to a blogspot advertorial page.

    There’s a bit of a lull on decent kicks at the moment. Eastbay is a super site for getting stuff you can’t get out here, although the exchange rate is brutalising any attempt of mine to pick up stuff cheaper than it is in Australia… Also, US$40 for shipping is tough to swallow. My advice (offered for free, no questions asked) on kicks around at the moment: steer clear of the adidas TS creator range. no cushioning, and brutal on broad feet… the Jordan CPs are one of the lightest, most cushioned shoes I’ve tried on in years, but still solid and supportive. And Hyperdunks are as astonishing as everyone says they are. Jordan Dentro/TGIM… most of the Jordan range is pretty impressive, if you can get past some of the questionable aesthetics. Just depends on what kinda cash you wanna drop…

  • andrew

    P.S. what are adlays?

  • KayDoub

    I live in SYdney, and yes I’ve seen TH lol…

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    uh yeh my bad andrew. I had an au on the end of the site. Shouldnt have been there. Fixed now.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    You know lads? They speak fu*king pig latin and thats what ‘lad’ translates to.

  • maclovenotwar

    James Crawford!

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Questionable aesthetics? What does that mean?
    The hyperdunks are niiice.

  • andrew

    Ah, I get it. I’ve posted on yr blog, hursty.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Money Bill Williams

    taken from urban dictionary: adlays means lad, a word used to describe a guy, usually burwood boy who wears polo tops , hat , trackies & the latest nikes.

  • andrew

    Hursty: questionable aesthetics = nice way of saying pretty ugly.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Money Bill Williams

    hurst, he means that jordans can look ugly sometimes

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    I wonder how they get the latest Nikes Money….lol. Money- whats your first post on mate? Also, doing that preview? I know Im bugging, just havent heard much back.

  • andrew

    Money – I see. We call those dudes in Melbourne fu(kheads.

  • andrew

    P.S. I couldn’t resist a really bad line there. Apologies to anyone who actually dresses like that. I’m not a hater.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    LOTS of Jordans look ugly. Even if they feel great.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Money Bill Williams

    haven’t got a clue bout 1st post. what teams are left? F*ckheads is the right term. they keyed my car at the JB HiFi parking lot in Warrawong. they also got my mates car at Harvey Norman and stole $1200 cash under the seat the seat that he saved to get a new laptop for uni. they keyed ” Waza Boyz” on the bonnet aswell

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Wiz, Bucks, Bulls, Cavs, Magic, Sixers. A few more teams. You can now go back through the posts since your a member and have a look yourself.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Im out fellas. Have a good one :)

  • andrew

    Hey, does anyone else get the sinking feeling the SLAMonline overlords just put this post up so all the freaking aussies would shut the heck up and stop hijacking all the other threats? Am I being a little too conspiracy-theorist here?

  • andrew

    threats = threads…

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Money Bill Williams

    no your probably right. But at same time you can’t forget our friends over the ditch

  • William

    Wow you’ve got it right there, players willing to promote the game. But at the end of the day the league needs the money to market the game and the money will only come from either sponsorship which is unlikely because of poor attendence and the perception of the product or government funding.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Aussies are trying to take over.

  • http://www.gaze.com.au AL MASSEY

    As a US-based Aussie and a longtime SLAM reader, I am impressed at you guys running this. Thank you for bringing the travesty that is our league to the attention of this audience, many who consider themselves knowledgeable fans but know absolutely nothing of Aussie hoops. Believe me, the NBL may be crap but there is so much love and hope for those of us that care about the game and its success in Australia.

    My biggest gripe is the coverage. The NBL has the best bunch of players it has ever seen. Real quality play there these days. After I came over to NY/MA to play D2, many of my friends stayed and now actually play in the league – what up, Boodnkoff – its a damn shame that its impossible for us to watch anything over here. The site is a joke. My boy, with some help of friends has a nice little site going for those that don’t know. It’s only getting better too. Just needs some backing. GAZE.COM.AU check it out. Shout out to Daniel Eade.

    Anyway, a massive thanks for running this and bringing Aussie hoops into the spotlight for a few. We are grateful.

    A

  • http://www.gaze.com.au AL MASSEY

    Can’t wait for the second post!

  • paul

    I got brought to my attention a few weeks ago that 2 people are currently working at NBL headquarters. Harmison and Scott Derwin. 2 people!!! They deserve some credit for keeping the league running (allbeit in a pretty poor state) but it is also disgraceful that the league has come to this and has funds to employ 2 people at their headquarters…

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry DowningHall

    This was a great piece Todd, well done. I’ve done work for Handle and, contributing or not, remain a big fan of the magazine. They have shown SLAM a lot of love since day 1 and Brad Graham is a true basketball guy who represents AU with a lot of integrity. I can’t speak to the play in the NBL but, from my experience AU hoops fans are a hardcore bunch, and the exposure is well warranted!

  • Todd Spehr

    Thanks Emry. I love writing for Handle, they’re about the same thing as SLAM – love of the game – and as the only hoops mag in Australia they have a big responsibility, one which Brad does very well.

  • khroliks

    sup, sup! did my 1st ever comments to this article made it?! he! he! he!

    I really can’t believe this…SLAM makin’ an article bout Australian Basketball?! FIBA ranks Australia as tha 2nd best basketball team in tha World?! yeah, whatever!!!
    Australian basketball is nuthin’, they plain a$$ sh*t…all its ballers (from tha street, amateurs and pros)…well, xcept fo’ the Australian Women’s basketball team (2nd best in tha World! don’t worry ladies u goin’ to break tha USofA one time!).

    I’m a Filipino, an Australian citizen…addicted to bball! to tell you tha truth, tha local Filipino Bball Leagues/Competitions around Australia are more tougher and more physical than Australia’s NBL (Nat’l Basketball League). Australians are lucky, that Filipinoes lacks height…or else we be dunkin’ on they heads!!! he! he! he!

    No disrespect to Australia…they really love their sport (well, that would be Rugby (League&Union), Australian Rules Football and Cricket). and they excel on these sports, buh wit’ basketball…PLEASE leave it to tha Americans, Filipinoes and Europeans! he! he! he!

    Australian Basketball got nuthin’ against tha World… SORRY Australia better stick to netball!!! he! he! he!

  • Dave

    Hey khroliks, it’s good to see that the great Australian tradition of of being a racist idiot hasn’t been restricted to only the whiteys.
    Also good to see that using the internet to lie through your teeth hasn’t faded. Where are these Filipino-Australian leagues hiding? First rule of Filipino-Australian League – nobody talks about the Filipino-Australian League!

  • http://www.triplejunearthed/dacre Dacre

    JUST AS A SIDE NOTE:
    Chris Anstey opted out of training camp with the Chicago Bulls prior to the Olymipcs in 2000, to play for Australia IN Australia…so to him it was a big deal obviously. The powers that be decided to not let him go for that and he reaped the end of a still forming NBA career.
    Wait till Patrick Mills gets to the NBA!?

  • Todd Spehr

    Shane Heal also had two years remaining on his Wolves contract when he opted out prior to the ’97-98 season

  • Crash

    @WOOOZE Firstly how do you watch NBA? Its only on Pay, so therefore you can see NBL too. But if you prefer NBA go ahead, makes no matter to me I love the sport, NBA NBL ABA or my kids playing, even me. Feel sorry for NBL & BA together they know the move to winter is the go, but Fox wont have it..Simple. The A-League Soccer is better marketed thet command a chanel to themselves..then AFL & NRL.
    What I do see inthe cities, not provincials is a trend toward putting sport onto HD or other digital channels. Is this the way to go..
    Still no one listens.. there are many great ideas on this page alone, we all vent and no one listens

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/ Michael NZ

    A-League: Better marketing, poorer game quality; NBL: shocking marketing, better game product. Interesting. Makes no sense, but interesting none the less.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    @Crash, theres a bunch of sites that stream live game action off the computer. Just search around for them, not to hard to find.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    True Michael. But, thats what happens. Get me some fake @ss Ronaldo and Ronaldinhos here and there and its all set baby. Besides, they got the best add right now inside the stadium, where the whole thing is shaking? Yeh thats what Im talking about.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Money Bill Williams

    hursty, what are some of these sites you talking about

  • Sanchez

    Just saw an ad on fox sports. nbl returning on 22nd oct. better late than never i suppose!

  • Pingback: Slamonline talking about Australian basketball - Page 2 - OzCardTrader.com.au

  • joe

    There will be NO NBA on Fox Sports This year, as they dont wanna pay for the Rights. Make a Feel free to send them a email contact@premiermediagroup.com.au ask them for NBA coverage on fox sports or call them and complain: Ph: 02-9776-2600

  • Meagan4th

    Wow Toddy, that was a great article. As someone who has never been exposed to basketball until now, i suddenly realise how limited and poor the media coverage is in Australia and see myelf as a prime example of how people can be so ignorant of the b’ball culture. Its so very stupid that nbl is not on free-to-air tv!

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