Alex Lyle

Moving In: When the SEC Became the Kingdome

Moving In: When the SEC Became the Kingdome

In a 1989 playoff game at Sydney’s State Sports Centre, Canberra coach Steve Breheny allegedly headbutted Kings’ guard Damian Keogh. Breheny was later suspended by the league, but the Sydney fans tried to deliver an immediate punishment. “People were standing up and throwing full beer cans at this bloke,” said Mark Dalton, who played for the Kings from 1988-95 and… Read more →

10 Years On: Sydney Kings Three-Peat

10 Years On: Sydney Kings Three-Peat

There were reasons for pessimism about the Sydney Kings’ quest to win their third straight championship in 2004-05. No NBL team had won three consecutive titles, and Sydney had just lost Ebi Ere, David Stiff and reigning league MVP Matt Nielsen. The Kings had stars Jason Smith and CJ Bruton returning, and they brought in players such as Ben Knight… Read more →

Bennie Lewis: Travelling Salesman

Bennie Lewis: Travelling Salesman

Bennie Lewis was a smooth, lefty all-star guard who averaged better than 18 points in each of his 10 NBL seasons from 1981-90. Despite his basketball stardom, he still found time during his playing days to work as a travelling Converse shoe salesman. That off-court employment gave Lewis extra cash, access to playing shoes and reason to see more of… Read more →

Jungle Ball

Jungle Ball

The pick-up basketball played on Court One on Friday afternoons at Melbourne’s Albert Park Basketball Stadium in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s was unusual. The participants weren’t non-athletic guys in NBA jerseys clearing the ball at the three-point line and admiring each other’s crossovers. Nope, they were stars of Australian basketball — names such as Gaze, Goorjian and Bolden — showcasing… Read more →

20 Years On: Perth's '95 Championship

20 Years On: Perth’s ’95 Championship

On October 15, 1995, the Perth Wildcats defeated the North Melbourne Giants to secure the club its third championship. The title qualified the Wildcats for the McDonald’s Championship in London and a matchup with NBA Champions Houston Rockets. It was a glamorous end to a campaign that benefitted from unglamorous moments at the beginning—moments spent in vans on a preseason… Read more →

Downtown's #HardBall Predictions

Downtown’s #HardBall Predictions

The 2015/16 NBL season projects to be one of the most tightly contested in league history. So much talent squeezed into eight teams, almost all of which possess genuine championship credentials. To conclude our build-up to opening night, here are Downtown’s #HardBall predictions.   TOP 4 (in no particular order)  LIAM SANTAMARIA: Melbourne, Cairns, Illawarra, Perth TOMMY GREER: Melbourne, Perth,… Read more →

Ever Ready

Ever Ready

Everard Bartlett had a week’s worth of practices with the New Zealand Breakers to prepare for his task at the NBL Blitz: play like Corey Webster. He finished the tournament as its fourth-leading scorer with 18.3 points per game on 48.8 percent shooting from the field and 44.4 percent from deep — a credible statistical imitation of the NBA hopeful… Read more →

30 Years On: Brisbane's '85 Championship

30 Years On: Brisbane’s ’85 Championship

In recent years, the Brisbane Bullets were associated with ‘Fast Eddie’ Groves and unfulfilled talk of a rebirth. But in the NBL’s recent media release announcing the team would return in 2016-17, General Manager Jeremy Loeliger rightly focused on the positive. “All basketball fans have fond memories of the Bullets,” he said. The club’s history is rich enough that, despite some… Read more →

El Presidente

El Presidente

As Jacob Holmes was running up to half-court during warmups before a game in Wollongong about five years ago, Glen Saville extended his hand, nodded, and called him “El Presidente.” It was an acknowledgement of Holmes’ newfound status as head of the NBL Players Association. “It’s ridiculous that someone of his ilk was calling me President,” Holmes told Downtown. “I… Read more →

AJ Ogilvy Pursues Health and Happiness in Illawarra

AJ Ogilvy Pursues Health and Happiness in Illawarra

In mid-June, the Illawarra Hawks were four months removed from claiming the wooden spoon, they had no players under contract, and their coach, whose history with the club predated its red and white uniforms, had left the team. Though the Hawks had recently survived voluntary administration, it wasn’t a time for celebration. The optimism of the 2014 team anthem was… Read more →