Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Is the New Zealand Basketball League ready for a Resurgence



















Yes, yes it is.

My very first Basketball  game  I attended was in 1983, I
hopped on my little Raleigh 20 and biked to the
game, and fell in love with the sport.

Little did I know that New Zealand also would end
up loving the sport. The following few years, our
little arenas would be packed out for every game,
those with season tickets (like myself) were lucky,
the Canterbury Rams would end up virtually selling
out every game over a three year period.

The imports were the stars, Clyde the Glide Huntly
shooting from the outside, the big men like Ben
Antony, Willie Burton, players like  Ronnie Joyner
Kenny Perkins, Kerry Bogani, Kenny McFadden,
wowed the crowds, as fans couldn't contain their
excitement.

Our own Kiwi players soon became stars, John
and Stan Hill,  Dutchie  Radermakers, Bert
Knops and the great Gilbert Gordon.

Then the TV coverage started to happen, highlight
packages on a  Sunday sports show, Live coverage
of the final, kiwis started to notice Basketball.

Then the Rugby loving Media of New Zealand got
worried, there were negative articles about the sport,
saying the sport was just hype, hell Joseph Romanos
even started to make up stories, for example, he
wrote that import Lloyd Daniels left his team, but
barely a week back in the states he was murdered.

Well Joesph, he had quite the come back since he
ended up in the NBA the following year.

So there was a media backlash, less TV coverage,
then SKY TV came to New Zealand, the internet
took off and people got their Basketball fix from
watching the NBA.

The crowds got smaller, and the league kinda stagnated.

The Tall Blacks making the semi finals of the Basketball
world cup, gave the game a big boost, but once again the Rugby media
started to go negative.

It got to the surreal stage, The Tall Blacks caused the biggest
upset in International Basketball History by beating Serbia
at the 2004 Olympics,  but our media when ranking sports
achievements that year, put that below  A ranfurly shield
match.

The NZBreakers entered the Australian league and had a
tough few years, all the while  the New Zealand NBL seemed
to be the red headed child of New Zealand sport.

NZBreakers started winning, people started following them,
Steve Adams Gets drafted, young Kiwi men and women start
getting scholarships to NCAA D1 schools, and this has
been the small start of the resurgence of our own Professional
league, and this time, I think there is no going back.

The NewZealand  Basketball league doesn't have to rely on
the likes of Brendan Telfer or Andrew Saville, we have our
own Basket Journos, we have social media, which probably
has played the biggest part in making this year, the best year
for the New Zealand Basketball League since the might of
the Canterbury Rams beat the Saints in 1986.

It will grow and grow, because Basketball people will be in
control of it, and not outsiders. I think in five years time, it
will be not only be back to its heyday of all those decades ago
but will increase in size.

I have supported this sport since 1983, I'm so lucky to have
a  niece who plays NCAA D1,  she's my all time favourite player
no one else comes close.

I have lived and breath this sport, for me its a 24/7 thing
I have watched  literally thousands of games , from Primary/
Middle/High school in New Zealand and the USA, to AAU in
the USA, to D1 college men's and women's in the states, to the
NBA, to International Basketball, to the Euro League. To our
very own Women's league,  and I'm 100% sure that Women's
Basketball is the next big thing for NZ sport and rightfully so.

The lifeblood of Basketball in New Zealand, and what started
my love of the sport was the New Zealand Basketball league,
it just fills my heart that it's started to be noticed again, and
as long as it's basketball people being the Journalists, as long
as the fans keep active on social media, not only will the
league not go away, but it will just keep getting bigger and
bigger.

One last thing...

GO THE GIANTS AND THE RAMS!!!!

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