Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Visiting the 8 NBL cities: An 8 Home Games tour of Australia for the NBL and FIBA Basketball

Like plenty of Australians I enjoy a bit of backpacking, I'm on a mission to travel the 30 NBA cities of North America. I began this project in Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania after a memorable month around the country watching games for EuroBasket 2011. I had great experiences and made good friends through a shared love of basketball. Fortunately for me, it coincided with the NBA lockout so I got to witness plenty of International stars representing their Countries. It was here that I began my fascination with global hoops. Since then I've incorporated basketball in all my travels. I'm drawn to exploration in general, I've found basketball a good pretext to bring me places I might've never considered or overlooked.

I've had the fortune to watch leagues and tournaments around the globe. I've Couchsurfed in Kristaps Porziņģis' hometown and watched their local team play. I got to see Ricky Rubio whilst he honed his game in Barcelona. I've was lucky to witness teenagers Enes Kanter (Turkey) and Karl-Anthony Towns (Dominican Republic) play for their respective Countries.

I've watched club games with as little as 250 people in the stands. At arenas big and small in metropolises and quiet villages. The standard of play varies but the impressions that remain are the quality of presentation and the community support behind the game. Football tends to enjoy the most ardent and tribal fan support, it sometimes translates to other sports but usually only a fraction. I found this the case watching racuous League games in Turkey and Spain. Generally speaking basketball fans are are smaller in size but just as loyal.

The 2018 Australian tour (NBL and FIBA)
I'm a third of the way through visiting the NBA cities having watched my first game January 2015. I'd always hoped to do the same for Australia by watching the NBL. I initially laid out plans in 2012 but will finally embark on it to tip-off 2018 as the regular season winds down.

The rejuvenated NBL has been a revelation. I visited Melbourne to watch phenom Ben Simmons play in a sold out crowd of 10,000 as his college team LSU toured Down Under. I also ticked off a few NBA cities, watching the NBL's historic partnership with the NBA during this current preseason. 3 exhibition games with Utah, OKC and Phoenix against the NBL's Sydney Kings, Melbourne United and Brisbane Bullets respectively. Whilst the league has gone through its ups and downs, the core love for the game and club pride still endures. I'm hoping to get a taste of it as I travel the Country.

For this trip I'll be sharing more of my process in how these trips are accomplished. I'll be laying out my costings and sharing advice on how to achieve similar goals. Follow along on my @30HomeGames IG page and kindly get in touch if you have questions, tips or connections as I'd love to hear from fellow hoopsheads around Australia and the world.

Follow my dispatches on the hashtag #30HGoztour where I'll have daily snapshots of hoops around Australia

Update: March, 2018
Mission Accomplished!


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