It’s that time of the year again, where the NBA Finals heat up, and the basketball banter goes through the roof.
For the second year running, Australia has a vested interested, with Victoria’s Andrew Bogut and Matthew Dellavedova pitted against each other. Last year it was Patty Mills and Aron Baynes collecting NBA rings.
Australians are having an impact in America like never before, yet our own national competition is blind to it.
An Australian will win another NBA ring this year. Even more compelling, both Bogut and Dellavedova hold key roles within their teams, especially ‘Delly’ now that Kyrie Irving is injured.
This is the perfect opportunity for the NBL to tap into the mass interest Down Under, right? A way to dial into that basketball peak and try feed from it? Right? Right?
The NBL have done absolutely nothing! Their social media feeds completely ignore the NBA Finals. There’s nothing. Zero.
Hello! Cross promotion? Support Australian products? Help curate and develop interest? It may even lead to more interest in the NBL? If not, what is there to lose?
The NBL has been struggling for quite some time now, and their inability to engage with the sports fans is a major problem. They should be holding clinics, having NBA-related events and screenings.
It’s a time to celebrate that Australia have produced elite basketballers. It’s irrelevant that they haven’t come through the NBL system, because perhaps this current crop of Australian NBA players will inspire a future generation.
Instead the NBL are sitting on their hands.
The signs are not good for the local game. The NBL is so oblivious to generating an interest and building a following, particularly when the lead in front of them is so warm; in fact it’s bubbling hot.
While Australia is producing outstanding basketballers who are making their mark in America, the NBL simply doesn’t care. They can’t see the bigger picture, the opportunities in front of them.
Any nine-game losing streak ahead of a tough road trip to tackle the league-leaders is going to make for challenging times, but Cairns Taipans vice-captain Lucas Walker has overcome plenty in his NBL career to reach 200 games and this current hole is one he sees a way out of.
The Cavaliers have agreed to a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks that will return popular Australian guard Matthew Dellavedova to Cleveland along with forward John Henson and a pair of NBA draft picks in 2021.
A team full of NBL players might still have qualified Australia for a FIBA World Cup this time four years ago but the commitment, dedication and organisation of this current group playing for the Boomers only highlights further the growth of the league.