National Basketball League (Australasia)
The NBL logo
|No. of teams||8|
|Continent||FIBA Oceania (Oceania)|
|Most recent champion(s)||New Zealand Breakers (3rd title)|
|Most titles||Perth Wildcats (5 titles)|
|Level on pyramid||1|
The National Basketball League (NBL), also known as the iiNet NBL Championship for sponsorship reasons, is the pre-eminent professional men's basketball league in Australasia. Founded in 1979, the league is currently contested by eight teams; seven in Australia and one from New Zealand.
In August 1979, the inaugural season of the NBL commenced, playing in the winter season (April–September) which it did so until the completion of the 1998 season, the leagues twentieth season. The 1998–99 season, which began only months later, was the first to be played during the summer season (October–April). The shift, which is currently utilised by the league, was an attempt to avoid competing directly against Australia's various winter season football codes.
The NBL experienced its golden age in the 1990s, but its popularity, media attention, attendance and corporate support deteriorated and plateaued in the decade afterward. Australian NBA player Andrew Bogut suggested the NBL try to adopt a model similar to the Australian Football League (AFL) whereby there are the same 10 or 15 teams over a 10 year period.
At the start of the 2004–05 season the league struck a new television deal with Fox Sports in Australia and a multi-year naming-rights sponsorship deal with electronics manufacturer Philips. Though in 2007, Philips announced they would not continuing their naming rights sponsorship after the current contract ends in June in response to the National Basketball League wishing to increase the sponsorship deal. On 18 September 2007, the National Basketball League announced Hummer as their naming rights sponsor for the 2007–08 season.
A second Melbourne club, the South Dragons, entered the league in the 2006–07 season, but was short live, soon folding 3 years later after the 2008–09 season in which they were premiers. In the 2006–07 season the NBL became the first Australasian sporting league to field a team from Asia with the Singapore Slingers playing. The Gold Coast Blaze also joined the competition in the 2007–08 season.
A turbulent period during 2008 and 2009 saw the league lose teams from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and from Singapore.
The 2009–10 season earmarked as the season in which the NBL would begin its revamping, much like the old National Soccer League which became the eight team A-League. The NBL returned to free-to-air television in Australia for the first time in three years with One broadcasting 2–3 games a week.
Competition format 
Regular season 
|This section requires expansion. (April 2013)|
The top four teams at the end of the regular season advances to the Finals. The team finishing in the first and second position at the completion of the regular season receives home advantages in their best-of-three first round matchup against the team finishing in fourth and third position. The winner of each of the three matches advances to the Grand Final. The winner of Series 1 plays the winner of Series 2 in the best-of-three Grand Final series, with home advantage being awarded to the highest remaining seed. The winner of this series is crowned as NBL champion.
The NBL originated in 1979 with 10 teams, and through a sequence of team expansions, reductions, and relocations currently consists of 8 teams. The league is made up of seven teams in Australia and one in New Zealand. The teams are located in Adelaide, Auckland, Cairns, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Townsville and Wollongong.
|Club||Location||Home Venue||Capacity||Founded||Years Active|
|Adelaide 36ers||Adelaide, SA||Adelaide Arena||8,000||1982||1982–|
|Cairns Taipans||Cairns, QLD||Cairns Convention Centre||5,300||1999||1999–|
|Melbourne Tigers||Melbourne, VIC||State Netball and Hockey Centre
|New Zealand Breakers||Auckland, NZL||North Shore Events Centre
|Perth Wildcats||Perth, WA||Perth Arena||14,846||1982||1982–|
|Sydney Kings||Sydney, NSW||Sydney Entertainment Centre
State Sports Centre*
|Townsville Crocodiles||Townsville, QLD||Townsville Entertainment Centre||5,257||1993||1993–|
|Wollongong Hawks||Wollongong, NSW||WIN Entertainment Centre||6,000||1979||1979–|
Future expansion 
There has been significant support for the NBL to expand into Asia by many NBL players as well as from ex-Australian Boomers head coach Brian Goorjian, be it differently to how it was done with the now-defunct Singapore Slingers which had a 14 hour round-trip flight to the Australian East Coast. Locating a team in the city of Darwin would make an Asian-based road-trip less drawn-out, also Darwin currently does not have the support for a national domestic team of any sort.
A second Melbourne team (as well as the possibility of a second New Zealand team based in Wellington) was thought to be the NBL's choice of a 9th and/or 10th team from 2013, though midway through the 2012–13 season the NBL announced that there would be no second Melbourne based team for the next season.
Other possible locations for clubs include Hobart, Wellington and even an Australian Institute of Sport team based in Canberra composed of the best Australian players under the age of 22. Canberra has not had an NBL side since the Canberra Cannons which folded in 2003 but the success of the AIS team in the Australian Women's National Basketball League underlines the likelihood of such a venture working. Brisbane remains the most likely team to come back into the league, while Newcastle is rumoured to be returning due to the strong drive from mining magnate Nathan Tinkler. Canberra and Hobart are also rumoured to be interested in returning to the league within the next 5 years.
Adelaide 36ers vs Perth Wildcats
Both teams were perennial championship contenders in the late 1980s and early 90s and had several marquee players with excellent matchups, the three most notable all involving American imports: Al Green (Adelaide) vs Cal Bruton (Perth), Mark Davis (Adelaide) vs James Crawford (Perth) and Bill Jones (Adelaide) vs Tiny Pinder (Perth). Games during this era were rarely blowouts and helped to fuel the rivalry. Adelaide won the 1986 NBL Championship over the Brisbane Bullets and Bruton, who moved from Brisbane to be player-coach of Perth in 1987, built a team specifically to beat the reigning champions. Despite the long time rivalry between the two clubs, and the two teams having played numerous semi-final series against each other with the first being in that 1987 season, they have never faced each other in the grand final series and the Wildcats have won each semi finals series played between the two (1987, 1989 and 1995). As the mainstay players began to slow with age and retire, the intensity of this rivalry has declined. The two clubs remain the most successful in the NBL with four championships for Adelaide and five for Perth and are first and second on the all-time wins list, and have also matched up on more occasions (104 times total; Perth leading all time between the two 56-48) than any other two teams in the NBL (as of 24 February 2012). The rivalry continues into the 2012–13 season with the 36ers beating the Wildcats in back to back games in rounds 6 and 7, including the opening game at Perth's new home, the Perth Arena, in front of a record Wildcats crowd of 11,562.
Sydney Kings vs Wollongong Hawks
Wollongong Hawks fans consider the Sydney Kings to be their most fierce rival. Many Wollongong players have moved to the Kings with two former Rookie of the Year winners and a two time Olympian joining the Kings from Wollongong. In the absence of the Kings, the Sydney Spirit took the role of rival, but this felt fake to some Wollongong faithful.[who?] Wollongong took bragging rights after the 2000–01 season when they became the first team from New South Wales to qualify for the NBL finals, which they won against Townsville. Sydney then took the ascendency when they won three championships in a row, including a clean sweep of the Hawks.
Cairns Taipans vs Townsville Crocodiles
A local derby-style rivalry nicknamed "Reptile Rumble" has developed to determine which is the dominant North Queensland team. The Cairns-Townsville basketball rivalry would have to be one of the longest and most passionate in the NBL. Both teams generally attract a close to capacity crowd anywhere from 4000+ at their home games. Each team and their supporters and mascots generally boo and taunt their visiting rivals. The rivalry has been in existent for over 10 years and almost came to a near end when the Cairns Taipans were on the verge of extinction due to financial issues.
Adelaide 36ers vs. Melbourne Tigers
Apart from the normal Victorian and South Australian rivalry, a new rivalry has emerged with Julius Hodge, a former 36er, returning to the NBL in November 2009, signing with the Melbourne Tigers. Hodge was a star in Adelaide when he joined the 36ers mid-season the previous two years, however issues relating to alleged missed payments caused him to walk out on the club in early January 2009 on bad terms.
Hodge returned to his old home court for the first time on 5 December 2009 in a Tigers overtime victory. After being heckled and taunted all night in a quiet game by his standards, Hodge caused more controversy when he stamped and spat on the Brett Maher signature on the centre of the Brett Maher Court following his new club's win. He was booed off aggressively and loudly by the Adelaide fans and needed security to escort him out of the stadium for security reasons.
The television broadcasting rights are as follows:
|Free TV||Pay TV||Free TV||Pay TV|
|2007||Nine Network||Māori Television|
Squad formation and salary cap 
Most teams have historically featured at least one and usually two American imports; teams are limited to having two non-Australasians on the roster at any one time. Some of these players have moved to Australia permanently and become Australian citizens; a few have even played for the Australian national team (under a rule that allowed one naturalised player to compete for a national team).
The NBL's salary cap for the 2006–07 season was A$776,000, and increased to A$810,000 for the 2007–08 season; the cap rose for two consecutive years due to the continued growth of the league. The salary cap rose to A$1,000,000 for the 2009–10 season. The cap remains at A$1,000,000 for the 2012–13 season.
List of Champions 
|Perth Wildcats||5||1990, 1991, 1995, 2000, 2010|
|Adelaide 36ers||4||1986, 1998, 1999, 2002|
|Melbourne Tigers||4||1993, 1997, 2006, 2008|
|Canberra Cannons||3||1983, 1984, 1988||Became Hunter Pirates in 2003|
|Sydney Kings||3||2003, 2004, 2005|
|Brisbane Bullets||3||1985, 1987, 2007|
|New Zealand Breakers||3||2011, 2012, 2013|
|St Kilda Saints||2||1979, 1980||Became Westside Saints in 1987|
|North Melbourne Giants||2||1989, 1994||Merged to form Victoria Titans in 1998|
|South East Melbourne Magic||2||1992, 1996||Merged to form Victoria Titans in 1998|
|Launceston Casino City||1||1981||Team folded in 1983|
|West Adelaide Bearcats||1||1982||Team left NBL in 1984|
|South Dragons||1||2009||Team left NBL in 2009|
|Bold indicates club is current members of the NBL.|
Hall of Fame 
The National Basketball League Hall of Fame was instituted in 1998 to mark the 20th season of the NBL. The Hall recognises outstanding service to the league as players, officials and other contributors.
In order to be eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame, candidates must have fulfilled the following criteria:
- Players must have made an outstanding contribution to the NBL, have been retired for a minimum of four seasons, and have played 100 NBL games or more.
- Coaches must have made an outstanding contribution to the NBL, have been retired for at least four seasons, and have been an NBL head coach for 10 seasons or more.
- Referees must have made an outstanding contribution to the league and have been retired for at least four seasons.
- Contributors must have made an outstanding contribution to the NBL, and may be elected at any time.
Inductees are listed in alphabetical order.
- 25th Anniversary Team (2003)
- 20th Anniversary Team (1998)
- Most Valuable Player
- Most Valuable Player – Grand Final
- Coach of the Year
- Rookie of the Year
- Most Improved Player
- Best Defensive Player
- Best Sixth Man
- Good Hands Award (defunct)
- Most Efficient Player (defunct)
- All-NBL team
Road trips 
The Doomsday Double, involving a journey out west to play the Adelaide 36ers and Perth Wildcats during the same round, has occurred 141 times as at the end of the 2010–11 season. Only four teams have won both legs of the trip, played either on consecutive nights or on a Friday night and Sunday afternoon. The Double is considered the toughest two games in one weekend road trip in the NBL. The Doomsday Double was given its name by Hall of Famer Cal Bruton during its early days when the trip was a game in Perth on the Friday night followed by Adelaide the following night or vice versa.
Similar to the Doomsday Double, the Sunshine Swing pits teams against an away double or even triple game schedule against opponents from the state of Queensland, in the same round. The most frequent combinations have featured the Brisbane Bullets/Gold Coast Rollers or Cairns Taipans/Townsville Crocodiles double, which is the current Sunshine Swing. Other variants include Brisbane Bullets/Townsville Crocodiles and the gruelling Brisbane Bullets/Cairns Taipans/Townsville Crocodiles triple.
All-Star game 
The All-Star game is an event that was first contested in 1982 by East and West teams. It was revived in 1988 when North and South teams competed. This match was played annually until 1997. In 2003–04 season the concept was revived with an East-West match being held in Melbourne. The following season saw a change of format, with a local team (Aussie All-Stars) playing an imports team (World All-Star). This was discontinuted after the 2007–08 season. The concept was revived in 2012 with an All-Game game between North and South being scheduled for December 2012.
See also 
- Basketball in Australia
- List of attendance figures at domestic professional sports leagues — the NBL in a worldwide context
- List of National Basketball League (Australia) venues
- NBL All-time Records
- New Zealand National Basketball League
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- "NBL brings basketball all-stars to Adelaide". National Basketball League. 25 August 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
- NBL official website
- Basketball Australia official website
- Aussie BBall
- Australian basketball magazine HoopCity
- FOX Sports Australia Basketball section
- SportsAustralia.com Basketball section
- NBL on Austadiums