Tuesday, June 16, 2015

#30HGaustralasia Plans for 2015: FIBA Oceania in Melbourne and Wellington, FIBA Asia and the NBA Global Games in China

It all started in Rotterdam when I met a Spanish fellow in a hostel who was starting a new life in the Netherlands. I saw he had a ball and told him I'd been trying to have a basketball experience in each Country I visited. He remarked "So you're going to Lithuania then?".
He was introducing me to a new world, back then I wasn't familiar with FIBA's regional, biennial tournaments. I booked flights to Lithuania that evening and have been hooked ever since.

I traveled all over Lithuania for EuroBasket '11 watching as many group games in each of the smaller towns. I made fast local friends and had memorable experiences all because the love of the game brought me there.

 #30HGeurope (2011)
 #30HGsouthamerica (2013)
Whilst my basketball journey had organically begun when I arrived in Europe months previous, I officially founded #30HomeGames in the Country's capital, Vilnius. It was my mission to have a basketball experience in each Country visited. Be it watching a local league in action or finding a pickup game. It was buildup to my ultimate goal, visiting all 30 NBA Cities in America.

In 2013 when I backpacked South America, I realised it overlapped with FIBA Americas. The host Country was Venezuela but several friends familiar with South America warned me against going. With a little trepidation I went ahead and had another great time, albeit a challenging one.

- FIBA Oceania 2015, Gm1 Melbourne, Australia (August 15)
Gm2 Wellington, New Zealand (August 18)
- FIBA Asia, Changsha 2015 (September 23 - October 3)
- NBA Global Games, Shenzhen (October 11)
With momentum behind me, I was compelled to continue my FIBA streak for 2015. Though I originally had designs for FIBA Africa, current news on the ground gave me pause for concern. I've decided on twin trips to FIBA Oceania and FIBA Asia instead. Dubbed the #Homecoming, the Oceania event promises the strongest ever Boomers squad, fielding most of our rising and established Aussie NBA stars. Going to China also gives me the opportunity to watch an International NBA Game between the Houston Rockets and the Charlotte Hornets.

As in previous trips the primary goal is to be there on the ground then see what arises. Travel and exploration is the main component of my journey so the little planning I do extends to just getting there. One difference from my previous trips is a larger emphasis on Social media. Whilst I'll still be relying on street level engagement, I'm hoping the '30 Home Games' project can facilitate connections with locals and fellow hoopsheads in my travels.

Read about my previous FIBA journeys:
- '30 Home Games' recap in Europe (2011) and South America (2013)
- Balancing Basketball and Travel in Lithuania - Part I
- Balancing Basketball and Travel in Lithuania - Part II
- My time in Caracas, Venezuela for FIBA Americas 2013

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