Monday, May 11th, 2009 at 11:33 am  |  114 responses

NBL: Dead?

by Ryne Nelson

Australia’s “National” Basketball League is on the verge of collapse after one of its strongest clubs, Melbourne Tigers, declared it would not play next season.

Once a popular sport during the early to mid-90s, only six small market teams have lodged applications by Monday’s deadline. Struggling with a lack of steady commercial interest and attendance, especially with the omission of a suitable a TV broadcast deal and other media support, basketball in Australia has been in turmoil for a while. Without teams in Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane, it’s difficult to imagine a new league starting any time soon.

The news was reported on Fox Sports. Steve Carfino commented on the harrowing situation:

“If you look at everything that the league has to offer it is a national competition and therefore the three major cities aren’t in, that’s a huge blow,” Carfino said.

“The successful teams can’t make money or aren’t happy with the model, or whatever it may be. There are a lot of reasons I have read, but the team that has won the most recent championship, when they don’t come back it doesn’t look great for the league.

“If it has ever looked so dismal or dark or any adjective you can think of – it has been like Black Sunday, today was a terrible day.

Is this the demise of national basketball competition in Australia? In the scheme of things, it shouldn’t be. Reform needs to happen and the NBL. Basketball Australia should take a season off to excruciatingly plan and fully relaunch a league with a clear vision for the future.

Hat-tip to Hursty for the news.

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  • daasas


  • http://slamonline.com/ Justin Walsh

    oh hursty i feel horrible for you. First you lost handle, then you lost the NBL. Jeebus.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    Hursty tells me Adelaide is unable to fulfill the financial requirements, hence the “six teams” instead of seven. Best take the year off.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Tzvi Twersky

    Didn’t Homicide play over there this year?

  • http://slamonline.com/ Justin Walsh

    yeah, he was killing is AUS land for a while.

  • Kas

    luc longley is rolling over in his grave

  • http://slamonline.com/ Justin Walsh

    Hugh Jackman is rolling over in his grave.

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    does this mean andrew bogut is coming back to the nba? do the bucks still own his rights?

  • http://sfdjilf.com Jukai

    People played basketball in Australia?

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Izzo

    If this happened over here,I wouldn’t notice.

  • NAS

    did isaiah thomas have anything to do with this?

  • LAN

    this is ridiculous…. the talent and everything is there… it is the most exciting sport in the world yet were not getting the spectators to games.. i just dont understand… absoloutley ridiculous

  • The Starks Knight

    It’s not like they’re trying to force Hockey to people from Florida and Phoenix.

    Basketball seems to make sense for Australia.

  • http://www.sprint.com/sero dma

    i thought andrew bogut donated money to this league last year?

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    I was worried for a second here. I thought the headline was about the NBDL (DLeague)
    Sorry, Aussies.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Tzvi Twersky

    Basketball, i thoguht was taking off there, with Bogut, the boy at Vanderbilt, Mills, the way they played in the Olympics. It’s sad to see this happen anywhere.

  • yng

    nicole kidman is rolling over in her grave.

  • http://www.alloutblitz.com cordeazy

    Kangaroos are rolling over in their graves.

  • http://www.bbltv.net Josh D

    This happens all the time in Britain about once a year, a team takes a year off or goes bust

  • Texas

    If they decide to play this year how will the playoff work?

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    Julius Hodge will need to find a new leauge to pwn now…

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

    The whole thing is so stupid. They screwed up this ‘remodeled’ NBL idea badly. Teams had no idea as to whether a season will go ahead so they couldn’t scout imports or build rosters. What half decent player would stick around? I thought once Brisbane and Sydney dropped out that it was just the start. Because if it can’t survive in the biggest markets how would it survive elsewhere? Well, it hasn’t. And don’t forget people, this isn’t just Aussie bball it affects. Its New Zealand too. The Breakers are/were playing this league… had a good roster of players and were indeed set to play this season. Now? A year off? It s going to kill top level bball off. Its not like CJ Bruton, Kirk Penney etc will just say, oh well and sit about waiting to see if a 10-11 season will happen. They’ll sign overseas. For multiple years. And they’ll never play here again.

    Gotta say too, with the season that just passed… how frustrating was it?! Coverage was appalling. My teams games were on delay on some random damn channel racked with ads and rotten presentation and announcers. Oh and that was home games only. Never saw an away game. Never saw any game between any other teams. So how can you follow it? You can’t. How did it get to this? What a shame.

  • vegas

    The australians dont deserve a basketball leauge

  • aotearaw

    New Zealand has a top 4 team in this league as well, this is terrible news.

    Seemed to be thriving as a comp last season, apparently not.

    I’m still confident it will go ahead.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Is there a chance the NBA will step in and just buy the NBL? It could be the start of many International branches of the NBA… NBA Aus???

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

    @aotearaw: Thriving may be too strong a word. Though the crowds at Breakers games were good the TV/media coverage was a joke which made it impossible to follow seriously. And a number of Aussie teams clearly struggled off the court during the season.

    I think calling the season off surely would be the worst case senario? Even if it was a reduced comp for 09/10, wouldn’t it best to run it if only to ensure the players on the teams that do play stick around?

  • Harlem_World

    Though most don’t see it, the global expansion of the NBA is going to put a hurting on all domestic leagues outside of the Euroleague power teams. Think about it…We’re in a time where the NBA is more accessible than it’s ever been and some guy in Sydney can just as easily tune into the Bucks/Cavs game as he can for any local hoops offering. Who’s he going to want to see? Lebron against Australia’s best player (Bogut) or Jonny No name against Bob Couldn’t Make It In The States? With stronger and rapidly increasing marketing of the NBA product globally on all continents, the plan Stern has to take the NBA brand to all corners of the earth may well be to the detriment of the domestic pro game in each of those markets. Think about it…

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

    Really interesting point Harlem_World. There is still a place for leagues like this though. This has happened more more due to morons at the top rather than the Global NBA brand extending its arm(s) per se.
    Either way, this is Tracy McGradys fault.

  • http://slamonline.com Todd Spehr

    The 80-page reform that the NBL sent me was full of super-high and unrealistic expectations. Keep in mind, the NBL team owners that are rejecting the idea of a reform are doing so, in part, because they don’t want to relinquish their power. The people that got us into this mess aren’t willing to take a road that could “possibly” get us out of it.

  • Harlem_World

    Michael NZ, I totally believe in domestic leagues and feel they have something different to offer than the globalization of the NBA brand. But at the same time, be very cautious of the NBA’s approach to your local market. They will come in ‘peace’ and leave your domestic sponsorship revenue streams in ‘pieces’!!

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

    I stopped following the NBL once the Newcastle Falcons left the comp. The marketing team for the NBL is one of the most attrocious and lack-lustre outfits in the marketing world. You couldn’t name the full starting fives on their allstar game last year. A COMPLETE overhaul is needed. Someone needs to start from the ground up and go from there. Basically no seriously minded basketball player in Australia at this point can think about making money from this sport in AUS as it stands….

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

    Harlem_world > I think ‘Bob Couldn’t Make It In The States’ started for one of the NBL allstar teams last season?!
    As a side point, it’s only a matter of time before interest falls off for the womens game here in AUS and their ability to keep up with the rest of the world tapers off also…

  • Hicksman

    So vegas get to school much? Nice spelling.
    You probably couldn’t find Australia on the globe.
    This is a tragedy for BBall everywhere in the world. BBall needs support from all around the globe not just the good ole US of A.
    Very disappointing

  • Pat

    Harlem_World, I see your point but Australians like to watch AUSTRALIAN teams play sport. Look at football (or soccer as Americans call it). It is popular all over the world. There are plenty of people who watch the leagues in their own country as well as the top leagues such as the English Premier League.

    I think it’s more to do with poor management, bad promotion. As an Australian, I would like to watch both the NBA and the NBL.

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

    @Dacre.. your post at 8.17. Well said. I myself work in the marketing field and you’re bang on – the NBL marketing team (shocked there is one) need a total overhaul. Its embarrassing.

    @Harlem_World: I hear you, and it almost sounds like you’ve seen an example of this somewhere? If so, do tell.

  • luckyluciano


  • I am the walrus

    As an Aussie, I say that unless the NBL brings in real talent and gains more publicity, the NBL will die.

  • Dirty Sixer

    Fox purchasing the rights to the NBL was the nail in the coffin, until it returns to free-to-air TV it won’t regain a following, hell even fox only played 2 NBL games a week.

    I caught word OneHD will have the rights should it return and play everygame, we can only hope.

    Harlem_World: If anything I think the resurgence of the NBA assists our league, in the peak of Aussie bball in the mid 90′s the NBA was absolutely HUGE here.

    Anything that generates interest in the game of basketball will assist in our of league.

    It’s good to ‘adopt’ a team in the NBA but nothing will ever replace city pride.

  • Aussie Magic Fan

    I am in Perth (Australia) and used to go to Wildcats games all the time. Lately it is too expensive for me when you consider the quality of the games. The standard is not great and I think it’s because teams can’t afford to get good players here. A lot of Aussie players that are half-decent flee for better money in Europe and US players won’t look twice over here because they can make better money in Europe too. This drops the standard of the competition and less people will watch. It’s strange though because it doesn’t seem to be affecting the quality of players Oz is producing. I can’t remember so many players playing in US colleges and our Olympic team seems to get stronger all the time.

  • http://blogs.myspace.com/originadro Witness

    what is this? im lost.

  • http://www.broy7.com nate the great

    they need a better advertising market. i didnt even knew about an NBL league or what ever.
    maybe if they made a better try at getting attention.
    or they players should just play in the NBA.

  • Takam

    Damn – I’m leaving the Us and heading back to NZ so it’s a shame to hear this is looking like the AFL (likely dead and gone)

  • Takam

    AFL – arena, not aussie

  • Pat

    Spot on Dirty Sixer! I remember going to see the Falcons play every week in the 90s! They were the days!

  • DEC

    Bring back Jumping Joe Hurst and the Tassie Devils!

  • S-MC

    My Team THE SYDNEY KINGS came 2nd in the finals and then folded the next year

  • Tekno

    Mark Davis – Chairman of the Boards
    Dwayne Maclain – the D Train
    Leapin’ Leroy Loggins
    Shane ‘the Hammer’ Heal

    WWE? No…just great memories from the now defunct NBL. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  • http://jamescleaton.ning.com jaymes

    The NBL Fked it up in the 90′s by hanging on to the blatant cross promotion of hip hop and hoops. Every kid that thought it was in fashion in the early 90′s started playing hoops, but as the fad died off the numbers playing did too. But the fans that were left, the ones that truely loved the sport got stuck with a league that didn’t know its own, or its fans identity. These days it’s still decent quality competition, just awfully marketed.
    **Also when there is a far superior league in the world noone will get to into the local one, Australian Soccer has suffered the same fate in past years..

  • The Ghost of Wilt Chamberlain

    The NBL didn’t have a chance competing against established sports such as cricket, NRL, Rugby, AFL and now emerging soccer. Combine that with a lack of marketing, television coverage along with having the same personalities presenting for the last 20 years, this does not come as a suprise to me. More importantly, when will foreign nations be able to access more NBA? Is it too hard for the L to stream games via a web site requiring an annual subscription or something? Doesn’t this open up more interest internationally, building stronger fan bases and also become an extra revenue stream?

  • Dave

    I hear ya, jaymes, but the A-League now gets thousands at their games. One of the Sydney Kings NBL FINALS games had under 2,000 people at it.
    I think the biggest problem with the NBL is pretty simple – the board of directors have no financial stake in the success of the league, and they have very little experience in marketing sports leagues. It’s amateur hour, with ex-players and sports industry careerists on the board. If you want a successful business, which you have to have if you’re a pro sport, you need successful businesspeople running it. End of story.
    The NBL had the talent on the floor. It doesn’t have it in the board room or in the merketing.

  • Dave

    My prediction is that the new NBL will fold before it starts. I HOPE the owners of the Tigers, Dragons, Kings, Sixers etc brands/teams will find big ticket investors (surely there’s a Packer out there with money to burn?) and a genius marketing team (like who revived the ARL after it died with the SuperLeague debacle) and start a new one that non-ball fans will be attracted to and take seriously.

  • Dave

    Merketing? WTF?

  • Alan

    that’s what happens when netball is more popular than bball. Lady’s sports, they prefer down under

  • http://myspace.com/2grownup2beshownup Jack

    Alan, don’t say what you don’t know, because that ain’t really true. Anyway, the NBL brain trust just held a press conference: The NBL is definitely going on, they’re doing a 7-team competition if they have to.

  • Bombsquad

    They need a combination of…
    *much much better marketing and promotion (especially considering the majority of bball fans in australia know very little about the nbl)

    *better in arena entertainment..(it’s pathetic)

    *free to air tv coverage

    *new guidlines for officiating crews

    *better links to home team communities, not just families with young children, universities, colleges and highschools need to be targeted.

    *uniforms that people would actually want to buy, the set worn by the national team at the beijing olympics was horrific.

    *a reality TV show with a junior player trying to make the league??

    * In the 1990′s bball was huge, shaq was visiting, magic johnson came on tour here and every kid in aus had a 23 jersey..if we had the no.1 overall draft pick in the league then, as we do now, it would have been off the scale. We have more NBA and NCAA rep than ever before..for shame basketball australia..for shame.

  • http://jamescleaton.ning.com jaymes

    Your right dave, football has become succesful, opefully the NBL will too. But i don’t expect real growth for a few seasons yet.

    Bombsquad is right about the jerseys too, they’ve been ugly for years.

  • DJR

    Alan – down under prefers lady sports??

    Where do you live??

    If it’s Europe then you don’t even get to comment with how soft the football players are. If it’s the US you don’t get to comment either because the “tough” NFL guys over there have more padding than your little sisters bra.

  • serevei

    btw Alan is saying that netball is the highest funded / most participated sport in the country

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

    I wouldn’t be caught dead in any one of those awful jerseys. They look like puke. And while we’re at it, NBL.com is the worst website in the history of the world. I include non sports in that too. So so bad.
    And yeah, this mooted 7 team league… who’s gonna screen this? Its not in any of the big markets so why bother. *sigh*. Don’t even know what to say at this stage.

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

    Breakers for the ’10 title! Kiss our asterix!

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


  • http://www.basketballjerseyworld.com nba-jersey-king

    Good to see a lot of Aussies on here! I still miss the days of the Geelong Supercats…. now there is nothing left…. the talent in Australian hoops is at an all-time high but the league is just a mess. Get Mark Cuban to buy the league!

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

    I died a little on the inside today.
    The competition will continue with 7 teams. It will fail. I can’t see how posting a one year competition will help the situation at all.
    Re-boot and start from the bottom up. Basketball has more kids playing in Australia than any sport except soccer. That means it’s more popular than AFL, Rugby, NRL, Netball, swimming etc.

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

    I can’t comment. I have so much I want to say, but I can’t even get a single sentence through. This is a joke.

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

    Oh, how f*cking ironic.

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

    The PROBLEM is, that the overhaul cannot be complete until:
    1) The NBL as it stands is re-modelled. Realistically.
    2) Owners of clubs are prepared to lose money to gain money. They are too insular, and the economy doesn’t help.
    3) Advertising and Media are boosted by about 1000%, starting with grassroots projects.
    4) Basketball Australia has applied for a grant/funding from the Federal Govt for the next however many years. I doubt they will get much (if anything), but it’s a start.
    5) NAMING RIGHTS SPONSOR & Free-to-air TV coverage. The last time I saw any NBL game on TV was 2 years ago, and it was a single game, packaged into a one hour slot, on a Sunday morning. Disgraceful. Without a major naming rights sponsor, the competition can’t progress. It’s like spitting into a fan- it just hits you in the face.
    There are SO many more things that need to be done for this to become even a second tier sport in Australia. It was massive in the 90′s – that is how far Michael Jordan’s reach was. The talent level of the league is not an issue, most of the clubs here would be a top tier NBDL team, or a mid-range Euroleague team.

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

    HAHAHAHA! Now that I’ve lost any semblance of credibility that I might have once had because of ‘tantrum’, it decides to work.

  • http://www.basketballjerseyworld.com nba-jersey-king

    i feel your pain Hursty

  • bombsquad

    We (real bball fans) should be on the committee that determines the future of the league..If every fan in say Brisbane contributed $100 to become an “owner” of their local franchise things could really really take off..
    The community could really get behind em..
    I just finished my game at an inner city stadium, right next to a train station (convenient) and the place is dead. 6 players a side and 1 ref. This is the issue with BBall in this country, we need a major ass kicking for all the old time long sock wearers still running things down here.
    We want Bonzi too, Darius Miles, Smush Parker all the guys that wanna spend a couple of months sunning it up down under for AUD$100k..
    Need to get the energy back into hoops..

  • Dave

    I agree with pretty much everything Hursty and bombsquad and Michael NZ have said (execpt the bit about reality television, which I reject on principle).
    Between us we could board the new NBL better than the guys doing it the last five years.
    I *think* that the Hobart Devils were a publicly floated team. Didn’t work, though.

  • Harlem_World

    Pat, I agree with you, there is always going to be appetite for local ball. The responsibility is on the domestic league to get the marketing and development strategy right, in order to cultivate that appetite. My point about the NBA is that if you don’t do it (get those local ad dollars into basketball), if they smell advertising blood, they will.

  • Dave

    Can you imagine what kind of player Brandon Jennings would be now if he’d been coached to a chip by Goorj this season?
    Just think about the potential there.
    (Not too much, or you’ll weep for what is not but should be.)

  • Harlem_World

    Michael NZ, I just keep a keen eye on the business side of the league. I travel to Europe often on business and see how Stern is trying to get into that market. Everyone is convinced that NBA expansion means new franchises in European cities, which would compete with the local teams or perhaps include the local Euroleague teams. What they are not seeing is, this may not be Stern’s true strategy at all – instead, his aim is to ‘partner’ with strong leagues and bring in NBA branded products and programs and ride off the backs of existing structures to further increase the profile and penetration of the NBA brand. In simple terms, this seems fine as the new market can use the highly marketable NBA assets to draw greater attention to basketball and hope to be positioned to benefit once that increase starts to swell, right? Well, think about this, why would the NBA do the work of increasing interest in basketball in your region if Stern didn’t have plans to then be the primary benefactor of that increased interest? This is manifested in the NBA competing for the same sponsorship and advertising that the local teams are pitching for, and if they’ve been allowed to piggy back whatever local assets the domestic game does have, then they can pretty much outsell the domestic game on added value ratio’s to prospective sponsors. In short: they will take the money from your local market that your local league needs to survive. I’m not saying reject the NBA at all, but be sure to position them in a way that will benefit the domestic game first and foremost and let them get in where they fit in. Good luck Australia.

  • Joe

    Paul Hogan is rolling in his grave.

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

    To answer some questions about private ownership, my wollongong hawks were raised money up to $500,000 by the local community and prominent business people while another 500 k was raised by a mining tycoon. I’m not 100% sure on details but the crocodiles have a similar model.

    And for those people that decide to kick us true aussie hoop fans when we are down, you can all go and f*ck yourselves. I can take a joke and take the piss but to say that we don’t deserve to have a league or that it’s our fault that we play too much netball is just wrong. It also makes you look unintelligent, uneducated and ignorant about anything outside your own home country

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

    Sorry bout the rant everyone else, this is hard times for a true fan

  • http://myspace.com/2grownup2beshownup Jack

    I’m with Money Bill on this one though. The sh!t you are all saying about netball being the country’s most popular sport is just completely wrong. It’s the most played women’s sport but no way is it the most funded and participated sport in the country, not by far. Saying that we don’t deserve a league because of netball, f*ck you. No offense, but for Americans to call Australians soft is laughable, considering the amount of padding that your ‘tough’ ‘football’ players have.

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

    Yeah no drama’s Money Bill ( You haven’t been here for a while…or posted atleast, hope everything is swell…).
    I THINK THE TIME IS NOW FOR A REVIVAL. Our biggest sporting league, the NRL (rugby league for the American’s reading in…) is suffering a MAJOR blow (IMO) to the integrity of players and the game itself. Meanwhile basketball in Australia has never had a hit to it’s reputation morally, they just couldn’t stand up financially for too long. The BIGGEST issue comes back to the fact that you’ve got so may sporting options in Australia, all wanting a piece of the sporting fans dollar. Multiple codes of football: NRL, NFL, A-League, Rugby Union (international, city and college levels too), add to this that we are also pretty heavy on for cricket, Formula 1, the horse racing industry has taken a hit in recent years and with a population just squeezing past 22 million, the NBL would have to be pretty special to get a feasible share of that pie….

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

    The way I would run basketball, atleast for the next 2 seasons is like this. Have JUST ONE team for every state and territory to begin with. Places like Melbourne have the resources and capacity for multiple teams (the grand final last year if I’m not mistaken was by two Melbourne based teams – imagine a Clippers – Lakers NBA final???) but perhaps they shouldn’t set up multiple teams just yet. If you’ve got a glut of talent in one city, in this stage of regrowth and reformation your better of spreading that around.

    So you would try and establish this many teams:
    Ideally, you would want 2 teams in Melbourne, a 2nd team in Sydney and a 2nd team in QLD (along with Brisbane, so you could have something like the Townsville Crocs which got the most fans to every game?!
    Add to this a shortened concentrated season. Every team plays 2 games a week for 2 months. Make it intense, short and high focus on winning every game (as the season isn’t very long). You’d have less demand on players in the short-term (they could get part time jobs again like in the 70′s-80′s) and establish local identities quickly. You need to build a product that creates hunger for the game and hunger for supporting match ups. The active basketball fan (and there are HEAPS playing in Oz) needs to feel motivated to back someone again…

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

    You would have 7 teams (spread by state) and then a townsville team (which ideally can represent the Northern Territory geographically for the time being). So thats 8 teams. A fair starting point (rugby union get away with having TRI-NATION tours, so surely we can handle 8 as a decent number) with a view to expension in the mid-term up to a possible number of 10 teams.
    Something that looked good was having New Zealand on board the past few years (and I think even a team from Singapore?), but that did add to time and financial constrants quite heavily.
    We should start small, build on knowledge of the game and it’s local stars first – give a FAN someone to identify with, cheer for and go from there if that works well, the league will increase itself accordingly.
    THE END.

  • Adam

    Bring back the Hobart Devils and all will be right with the world.


  • russell

    thurr is no talent Down Under…that’s why tha so-called League collapsed!!!

  • Dave

    I like your enthusiasm, Dacre, but there won’t be a return to a south-east Asian team until the global economy settles down again and air transport becomes cheap again.

  • Dave

    While we’re chopping things up, a north-south conference probably wouldn’t hurt, keeping the finals out of Melbourne: Cairns, Townsville, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney ; Melbourne, Melbourne, NZ, Adelaide, Perth.
    Can you imagine the ratings dive (hypothetically, obviously – there are no ratings for non-existent television) when the Cairns and T’ville teams meet in the grand final?

  • http://images.google.com.au/imgres?imgurl=http://www.cinepatas.com/forum/album_mod/upload/album_2_1046639711.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.cinepatas.com/forum/album_page.php%3Fpic_id%3D292%26mode%3Dnex Dacre

    Definitely. A conference arrangement would be great. Actually for saving $$$, you wouldnt even have to have teams (say for example perth and cairns) play all that much until perhaps a finals match up or similar – this would be an ideal time for the league to ‘go green’ also…
    sure a cairns t’ville final would get poor ratings if it existed as you say, but as a northern conf final, with the winner going on to play a NSW team??? that would create alot of motivation….we really need to tap into the whole nsw/qld state of origin hype, because that is ONE area where aussie sports fans get passionate, let alone the players….
    if any american sports fans are interested in checking out how aussies go when psyched look on youtube for “NRL state of origin” highlights!
    other than that we all seem to get lethargic too easily.

  • S-MC

    they still playing. 7 teams. but 3 main cities sydney, melbourne and brisbane wont have teams. so basically its SH*T

  • serevei

    hursty basketball is the 2nd most government
    funded sport ,,, 1st is netball

  • serevei

    hahahaa bombsquad ur lucky u dont live in mackay…. for any organized basketball there junior or senior (except div 1) ur really lucky if u get 1 qualified ref

  • matt

    afl footballs just a better product then nbl basketball in victoria

  • Andrew

    This whole thing totally breaks my heart. I played in my rec league at MSAC the other night. Andrew Gaze was there shooting around. There were a bunch of school kids finishing up their training sessions, young coaches helping out and kids shooting around afterwards. I did not see one kid go up to Gaze for an autograph or to say hey or whatever. I’ve met Gaze a heap of times through work and other avenues, and as much as he’s a bit of a di(k, he’s the most approachable sports star I’ve ever come across. The fact that not one kid said hey or asked the greatest basketballer this country has ever produced for an autograph is a pretty clear indication to me as to why basketball is failing – he only retired 3 years ago, and is a household name. Could you imagine that being the same with Beckham/MJ/Maradona/Nathan Buckley?

    It’s a nightmarish situation, and I can’t stand to even talk about. People who don’t know about bball but know that I do keep asking me what’s up, and I don’t even wanna discuss it. This current situation needs to be less involved with the McPeakes and Cowans and about the fans… if any still exist.
    The concept of a community funded team is a great one, similar to our football clubs, but it would need to be significant money – upwards of 10000 members to contribute around $100 each, and a significant contribution from benevolent tycoons would be a start, the rest would need to come from a TV/Naming rights deal. Private team ownership rarely has a happy ending in sports in Australia. I reckon in Melbourne there would have to be 10000 that would front that sort of cash for a team – a UNITED team a la Melbourne Victory that puts the tigers/dragons/giants/spectres/magic/titans in the past (keep them at a VBL level or whatever) and go forward with a real, viable team. And less screaming kids and no more free clappers at games would help.

  • Harry J

    Who cares, A.F.L. is the greatest sport in the world. It’s a joke that a sport like basketball is so popular world-wide, while A.F.L. is yet to take off in many countries. Watch a few games of A.F.L. and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

  • Daniel

    yeah im from perth and am a perth wildcats supporeter and i am pretty disapointed by the outcome of the NBL, hopefully we can get ourselves together again and rebuild back into an australian sporting league phenomenon again just like 15 years ago, and bring NBL fever back to perth!!

  • Dave

    Harry J, visiting a website dedicated to a sport he doesn’t like. Give him a big hand, everyone.

  • Andrew

    Harry J it’s not about competing with other sports… the NBA in America is 3rd behind the NFL Nascar and MLB in terms of TV ratings etc., I love the AFL, but I also love basketball. The two (or five/six/seven other sports) can co-exist. Not everyone who watches AFL watches NRL or A-league. Surely there is still a market in the big cities for B-ball to exist and thrive, no? Also, it’s what you grow up with. I can’t stand watching league/union/soccer because I don’t understand it properly. Same with baseball and NFL- they bore me because I don’t get the nuances the way I do with Bball and footy. If I grew up watching other codes it’d be the same – the AFL won’t take off in other countries until kids start watching it on prime time tv and want to emulate it, the same way it happened with the NBA in Australia in the nineties….

  • Andrew

    oh, i totally put 3rd when it should be 4th.

    fuggit, i’m tired.

  • Dave

    “we really need to tap into the whole nsw/qld state of origin hype”
    As for the Drewy story, that’s f**king ridiculous, Andrew. Gaze is the biggest dork in the world of sports, but if he was shooting around at my court I’d be crawling for a game of ones or horse.

  • jessdogg

    i was born and currently live in a Australia. probably the biggest nba fan in the country and i i have to say is the nbl is pathetic.

  • s4l

    Harry J,

    What are you even doing on this page if you’re not a basketball fan? I find basketball to be the most exciting sport in the world. You obviously don’t understand or appreciate the game at all so go yap about AFL somewhere else.

    To call it a joke that basketball is so popular is rediculous. Shows how little you understand sports. I grew up watching AFL and I like it, but it will never have the popularity of basketball.

    The NBL needs a major marketing overhaul. There are so many basketball fans in Australia it makes no sense to see our national league dying like this.

  • Hello? Wilt Chamberlain is that you?

    There is NOTHING wrong with talent level of Australian Basketball. It is actually at an all time high. Its just as everyone has pointed out the NBL’s marketing and the way its run is a joke.

    It should be called the NBLol.

  • Hello? Wilt Chamberlain is that you?

    Lindsey Gaze must be rolling in his grave.

  • Aristotle

    Basketball and Soccer are the most popular sports in terms of participation in Australia from junior level to senior level. Men, women, and children of all ages play the game each night, and if you were to go to one of the local courts you would think Basketball is thriving here in Australia. The game thrives here, but not professionally.

    Basketball is not a popular sport amongst our political leaders, and that has cost the game over here. They prefer their Rugby League, Rugby Union, and Cricket (Soccer has only really been given political support since we qualified in the last World Cup), so Basketball doesn’t get the same government backing as the other sports – that won’t happen till we win a medal at the Olympics or beat the USA.

    Australia excels in sports which are to do with the other Commonwealth nations, not the true global games, and I think that’s another reason why Basketball struggles here. If your national team isn’t in the top 3 in the world, you won’t get supported.

    True Basketball followers in Australia are mostly of a European, African or Asian background. Their parents loved the game back home because it would of been either the country’s number one or number two sport along with Soccer, and so these kids have grown to love the game too by their parents. But to have these same people follow Basketball professionally in this country? Good luck!

    The NBL has been viewed as an amateur competition from the way it’s been promoted and run. You see more advertising about upcoming games at your local competition than from the NBL marketing department. You don’t know which day your team is playing, you don’t know when they are at home or on the road, and in the last two seasons we didn’t even know when the NBL Season began because there was no promotion of it. We started seeing the results in the newspaper and asked each other when did the new season begin. How will anyone take this game seriously in this country? Kids with a future in Basketball or who’d like one will most certainly look to Europe and the USA through college. There’s no money for a player here, and no matter how much talent the league might have… if your not getting paid to make a life out of it your going to leave.

    Politics is one of the biggest things to deal with here. For example, Andrew Bogut never got chosen for his State representative team. This was because some dad or mum who’s part of the local basketball club made sure they got their below-par son/daughter into the representative team. This turns off many parents who know their kids are better, so they look to send them to play overseas onc old enough. I don’t know about the USA, but over here many organisations are like tight knit families and many kids with talent are overlooked so you can put the crap son/daughter of the club secretary.

    Also, if it wasn’t for the Michael Jordan era, I think Basketball in Australia would have been dead by now. Michael Jordan started a basketball card craze, and that got everyone into playing basketball and wanting to be like Mike. You can’t ask for a better promotor of the game than Michael. He put it globally on the map. Australia also bought into it. Then came the 1992 Dream Team and what they accomplished in Barcelona. Watching Bird, Magic, Jordan, Malone, etc was another reason for basketball in Australia to stay popular. In 1996, Team USA versus Australia with Shane Heal and Sir Charles ready to brawl. This gave Australia false belief we could beat you guys (I know hilarious isn’t it?). It also kept Basketball popular in Australia.

    This was happening when Australia had NBA Action on free-to-air television, and also a game of the week (most times Chicago for Jordan and Pippen, or Orlando for Shaq and Penny).

    In the end, no matter how many play the game, you won’t see even a quarter of them head to watch their professional basketball team play. We just don’t rate the league. How can you rate a league when Mark Price was brought in by the South Dragons (current champions, but first year debut when Mark Price was brought in), and was then sacked so they can appoint Shane Heal as a Player/Coach? I’ve never felt so embaressed in my life for Australian Basketball till that moment when I saw how they treated Mark Price.

    Would anyone who knows basketball and understands the game, respect or rate a “professional” league where you’d be lucky for your franchise player to make a third of what a second round draft pick will make in his first NBA contract, and they treat Mark Price like he was nothing?
    Make him bring his whole family for a three-year stint, and then send him back home in the middle of the first season. That’s pathetic!

    It’s all about politics at the top and protecting their positions and has nothing to do with the talent coming through. Basketball fans aren’t stupid and can see what’s been happening. It’s why I stopped going to games.

    So the issues are many. The NBL needs to be killed off. Basketball Australia needs to look at itself in the mirror and ask if they want to make basketball successful in Australia and stop the Suits from filling up their pockets and caring for the game, or if they are happy with just a fair performance at the Olympics and World Championships every four years from whichever group of Aussie guys are playing at that time in the NBA or Europe to represent Australia.


  • Aristotle

    And come someone please tell me how to spread the paragraphs… lol. I’m getting sick of seeing my essays in one big blur, I can imagine the pain I put you guys through.


  • Dave

    TLDR prevention – hit enter for a new line, or makeeach paragraph a separate post.

  • Dave

    “True Basketball followers in Australia are mostly of a European, African or Asian background.”
    What, no Native Americans?!

  • Dave

    The Mark Price problem is with his hiring, not his firing. Another classic NBL blunder – hire the guy with the big name recognition and WITH NO EXPERIENCE. His 0-6 record was the reason he was fired – he sucked. And Heal did a better job after he was gone.
    Take a look at the resume of Mo McHone, the other top candidate for the Dragons job that year, and tell me Price, a guy whose coaching experience was at his son’s primary school, was a wise choice for the job.

  • Dave

    Fuggit, I’ll do the work for you.
    Who would you rather have coaching your team?

  • Aristotle

    Well I haven’t come across too many Native Americans in Australia, but if that be the case then yes they’d be all for it too. So my bad on that one if that be the case.
    As for the Mark Price situation I didn’t know about his lack of actual coaching experience. In that case I guess the NBL tried to build itself up by showing that past NBA Superstars were going to come coach here. Thanks for setting the record straight Dave. Your right about Mo McHone.

  • Erick

    I think this will more than sum up the current situation. The 20 second NBL Tribute.



  • Erick

    p.s. I do believe a native american is an American Indian.

    p.s.s. For Basketball to surivive, yes, there needs to be heaps more American Indians.

  • Dave

    I was taking the P1ss – about 95% of Australia’s population are of European, African or Asian backgrounds, so Aristotle’s comment didn’t make a whole lot of sense.

    The only people left would be Indigenous Australians, Indigenous Americans… oh, Pacific Islanders… I don’t actually know what ethnic identity people from the Arctic use, but they’re welcome in my pickup games, like anyone else.

    Anyone help me out?

  • Dave

    That vid is just cruel, Erick.

  • Nick Reynolds

    I remember a time in Australian basketball (think mid 90′s) where the Australian homegrown basketball talent was as spectacular as the Imports that came over here. Aussies like Andrew Gaze, Shane Heal, CJ Bruton, Jason Smith, Frank Drmic, Sam Mackinnon and Andrew Vlahov were just as good as the Imports such as Isaac Burton (Sydney Kings), Darnell Mee (whos now played for Australia on a few occassions), Rick Brunson (who had a decade long NBA career after his stint in Adelaide), Lenard Copeland (The ‘other’ legend of Melbourne Tiger Basketball) and of Course Leroy Loggins (Brisbane Bullets Legend).

    Sadly these days it is not the case anymore. Although some of the aforementioned players are still around, they are ageing, and the new wave of Aussie basketball talent are applying their trades either in the NBA (Andrew Bogut, Nathan Jawai), College Ball (AJ Ogilvy, Patrick Mills, Aaron Baynes) or in europe (Steven Markovic, David Andersen, Brad Newley). We need a new league format and a fresh way to market our domestic competition.

    A good and most obvious example of reinvention in Australian sport, is the A-League (soccer). The former NSL, while having good players, was wildly unknown, and in the end, folded because only a minority of australians knew about it. For a good few years, australia was left without a national competition, until the A-League was formed. Since then Australian Football has taken off (The fact that Australia also made a world cup helped) and now a lot of Aussie (Jason Culina who plays for PSV Eindhoven in Germany), and overseas talent (Junhino, Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler)are realising the potential of this new competition and are offering their services. And to boot, it gets more media coverage now.

    My point being is, if Australian basketball doesnt have a drastic overhaul and reinvent itself, it will become extinct. I think if they look at the A-Leagues example, it might stand a better chance of survival, by drawing back the high level of talent, back to Australia.

  • Ingmar

    The NBL is alive and well, it has gone through some really tough time redefining itself, but it came through in the end with afew less teams and a new look, rule changes, teams must now prove to be finacialy viable to enter into the league, so it’s really just laying the foundations for a sustainable future for the game in Australia, as tough as some of that was, I know, my own team almost went under.

    The NBL also became a faction of Basketball Australia to make the game more united in Australia, which it badly needed.

    check out these websites and you can see the current state of the game here is not as bad as what some of you might ne thinking.

    http://www.nbl.com.au and


    Cheers, Ing

  • Ingmar

    There are also plans to re-introduce teams from Sydney, Brisbane, and another from Melbourne or (Victoria) next season, the League will expand from here, without doubt.