The Basketball Scene in Melbourne, Australia
Basketball in Melbourne is a high participation sport. There are stadiums in every council region, which run inter stadium representative games, along with domestic and social leagues. Basketball is popular in schools too with inter school competitions and basketball rings in every school yard.
The Melbourne Tigers is the pro team in the city which has a loyal but small following. They have been around since the National Basketball League (NBL) started in 1984 and have junior teams which play in representative leagues.
The NBL is popular but with the world becoming better connected and the flurry of television stations and internet streams that have come in the last 5 years, there is a growing awareness and following of the National Basketball Association (NBA.)
After the 90’s Melbourne basketball boom, spectators of the Tigers dropped but participation rates have remained high. Being a non-contact sport opens basketball up to a larger proportion of society, and with the pro leagues motivating people to play basketball continues as a high participation sport.
And as such basketball rings are everywhere. They are easy to see in parks, behind factories and school yards. In some areas the local basketball rings attract regular players, who prefer to play ‘on the street’ as opposed to in a domestic competition, for a variety of reasons.
Melbourne basketball players are generally quite friendly and have no problems meeting and playing with new people. Playing games with new players is a great way to make new friends in an area.
Playing in local domestic leagues does cost money and is quite expensive if you count up all the charges for a season. From uniform, to registration, and stadium entry fees and this doesn’t guarantee you a good, competitive game. Playing on a public street court is a lot cheaper, and you get freedom of expression to boot. You have the freedom to wear your Kobe or Dwight Howard jersey or an old t-shirt.
Street games are more competitive because the players can switch teams if the game is too lopsided, unlike domestic competition.
Stadiums and leagues will also have a fine if your team doesn’t show up on time, which can amount to over $100 per night. On the street if you don’t want to go, you don’t have to, no fines, no worries.
Playing street basketball in Melbourne only has one setback, which is the temperamental weather. During September through April it is quite hot. From April to September it is rainy and it will always keep you guessing.
On a nice day there will be Melbourne basketball players, playing on the inner city courts, no matter what time of the year, so take your basketball a drink, have fun and leave your valuables at home!
Here is a google map with all the public rings in the Melbourne metropolitan region highlighted in GREEN, and the Basketball Stadiums highlighted in RED, making it easy to see what local courts are near you.