The league commenced in 1979, playing a winter season (April–September) and did so until the completion of the 20th season in 1998. The 1998/99 season, which commenced only months later, was the first season after the shift to the current summer season format (October–April). This shift was an attempt to avoid competing directly against Australia's various football codes.
There are currently 10 teams in the league, with teams in four capital cities Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, as well as regional centers Cairns, Townsville, Gold Coast and Wollongong, plus New Zealand. A second Melbourne club, the South Dragons, entered the league in season 2006/07. The National Basketball League has also become the first Australian sporting league to field a team from Asia with the Singapore Slingers playing in the 2006/07, through to the 2007/08 season. The Gold Coast Blaze joined the competition this 2007/08 season.
The league's best years were arguably in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but it has struggled recently and many teams have downsized to smaller venues to cut costs. A number of clubs have folded or ceased to compete in the competition. The previous major sponsor of the NBL was Mitsubishi Motors. Mitsubishi, which left its sponsorship when the ABC ceased televising NBL basketball games left the National Basketball League close to folding.
Despite these issues, 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. 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 September 18, 2007, the National Basketball League announced Hummer as their naming rights sponsor for the 2007/08 season.
Most teams have historically featured at least one and usually two American imports; teams are limited to having two non-Australians 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 naturalized player to compete for a national team).
|Club||Founded||City||Home Venue||Venues Capacity|
|Adelaide 36ers||1983||Adelaide, South Australia||Distinctive Homes Dome||7,200|
|Cairns Taipans||1999/2000||Cairns, Queensland||Cairns Convention Centre||5,300|
|Gold Coast Blaze||2007/2008||Gold Coast, Queensland||Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre||5,269|
|Melbourne Tigers||1984||Melbourne, Victoria||State Netball and Hockey Centre||3,500|
|New Zealand Breakers||2003/2004||Auckland, New Zealand||North Shore Events Centre||4,500|
|Perth Wildcats||1982||Perth, Western Australia||Challenge Stadium||4,500|
|South Dragons||2006/2007||Melbourne, Victoria||Hisense Arena||11,000|
|Sydney Spirit||1998/1999||Sydney, New South Wales||Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre||4,500|
|Townsville Crocodiles||1993||Townsville, Queensland||Townsville Entertainment Centre||5,257|
|Wollongong Hawks||1979||Wollongong, New South Wales||WIN Entertainment Centre||5,800|
In 2007, the league signed a deal with free-to-air Network Channel 9 airing a weekly highlights package of games that have aired previously on Fox Sports. The last time the NBL had been on free-to-air television was in the early 2000s, when a weekly highlights show and a game of the week were aired on the ABC. Prior to that, it had agreements with the Seven (1988–1991) and Ten (1992–1997) networks, the latter during the league's most successful period. Games were also aired on many regional stations as well, mainly Capital Television and Ten Northern NSW (now Southern Cross Ten), Seven Queensland, WIN Television and NBN Television at varying stages.
Radio coverage is limited only to local station 4TO Townsville, who cover Crocodiles matches, SEN who covers the Melbourne Tigers and South Dragons and ABC 891 who covers the Adelaide 36ers matches (usually over the internet.)
From Saturday October 27th 2007, Radio 1611 AM 3XX began broadcasting Melbourne hosted games of the Melbourne Tigers and South Dragons. Sport FM 91.3 currently broadcasts all Perth Wildcats home game and most away games. In the commentry box are Jason Dattilo, CJ Jackson and Eric Watterson.
In order to be eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame, candidates must have fulfilled the following criteria:
Inductees are listed in alphabetical order.
|Perth Wildcats||4||1990, 1991, 1995, 2000|
|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||Licence was revoked June 2008|
|Brisbane Bullets||3||1985, 1987, 2007||Team withdrew June 2008|
|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||Left NBL in 1984, now in ABA|
Teams in bold are current members of the NBL.
|1979||St Kilda Saints||94 – 93||Canberra Cannons||Single game final used|
|1980||St Kilda Saints||113 – 88||West Adelaide Bearcats|
|1981||Launceston Casino City||75 – 54||Nunawading Spectres|
|1982||West Adelaide Bearcats||80 – 74||Geelong Cats|
|1983||Canberra Cannons||75 – 73||West Adelaide Bearcats|
|1984||Canberra Cannons||84 – 82||Brisbane Bullets|
|1985||Brisbane Bullets||121 – 95||Adelaide 36ers|
|1986||Adelaide 36ers||2 - 1||Brisbane Bullets||Best of three games finals series first used.|
|1987||Brisbane Bullets||2 - 0||Perth Wildcats|
|1988||Canberra Cannons||2 - 1||North Melbourne Giants|
|1989||North Melbourne Giants||2 - 1||Canberra Cannons|
|1990||Perth Wildcats||2 - 1||Brisbane Bullets|
|1991||Perth Wildcats||2 - 1||Eastside Melbourne Spectres|
|1992||South East Melbourne Magic||2 - 1||Melbourne Tigers|
|1993||Melbourne Tigers||2 - 1||Perth Wildcats|
|1994||North Melbourne Giants||2 - 0||Adelaide 36ers|
|1995||Perth Wildcats||2 - 1||North Melbourne Giants|
|1996||South East Melbourne Magic||2 - 1||Melbourne Tigers|
|1997||Melbourne Tigers||2 - 1||South East Melbourne Magic|
|1998||Adelaide 36ers||2 - 0||South East Melbourne Magic|
|1998-99||Adelaide 36ers||2 - 1||Victoria Titans|
|1999-00||Perth Wildcats||2 - 0||Victoria Titans|
|2000-01||Wollongong Hawks||2 - 1||Townsville Crocodiles|
|2001-02||Adelaide 36ers||2 - 1||West Sydney Razorbacks|
|2002-03||Sydney Kings||2 - 0||Perth Wildcats|
|2003-04||Sydney Kings||3 - 2||West Sydney Razorbacks||Best of five games finals series first used.|
|2004-05||Sydney Kings||3 - 0||Wollongong Hawks|
|2005-06||Melbourne Tigers||3 - 0||Sydney Kings|
|2006-07||Brisbane Bullets||3 - 1||Melbourne Tigers|
|2007-08||Melbourne Tigers||3 - 2||Sydney Kings||Marked last game of the Sydney Kings before licence was revoked.|
Both teams were perennial championship contenders in the late 80's and early 90's and had several marquee players with excellent matchups, the two most notable involving the imports: Al Green (Adelaide) vs Cal Bruton (Perth), Mark Davis (Adelaide) vs James Crawford (Perth). Games during this era were rarely blowouts and helped to fuel the rivalry. Ironically, the two teams have never played each other in the final series. 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 4 championships each and are 1st & 2nd on the all-time wins list, and have also matched up on more occasions (76, including 20 in the playoffs) than any other two teams in the NBL (as at November 9, 2005).
Both teams were perennial championship contenders in the mid 80's and faced each other in the final for 3 consecutive years between 1985 and 1987. NBL legends Al Green, Mark Davis & Darryl Pearce from Adelaide and Leroy Loggins, Larry Sengstock & Cal Bruton (who moved to Perth in 1987 as the Adelaide / Perth rivalry developed) from Brisbane were all in the prime of their careers during this period.
This rivalry largely stems from the switch by Mark Bradtke to the Tigers (from the 36ers) at the end of the 1992 season, inciting the wrath of 36ers fans. As such, it could just as easily be referred to as the Adelaide 36ers fans vs Mark Bradtke rivalry.
This early 90's battle to rule Melbourne raged at a time when interest in the NBL was at an all-time high, and attracted very large crowds to the 15,000 seat National Tennis Centre (now Rod Laver Arena). Key figures in these matchups were, for the Tigers: Andrew Gaze, Lanard Copeland, Mark Bradtke, David Simmons, Warrick Giddey, Ray Gordon; for the Magic: Robert Rose, Tony Ronaldson, Bruce Bolden, Darren Lucas, John Dorge, Andrew Parkinson.
West Sydney Razorbacks fans are generally ex-Kings fans who became disillusioned with the team during the 1990s and ceased following the NBL altogether. The Razorbacks played the Kings in their first ever game in 1998. A controversial double technical foul late in the 4th quarter by Matt Nielsen, firstly for swinging on the ring and then for an obscene hand gesture, swung the game the Razorbacks way and gave the Kings a humiliating defeat. The two teams have hated each other ever since. The two teams met in a memorable Grand Final series in 2004 and the Razorbacks led the Kings 2 game to 1 and had a chance to clinch the title at home in Game 4. Behind their home crowd the Pigs rallied to tie the game but the Kings found a way to win the thrilling Game 4 and the Kings put the series away with a come from behind Game 5 victory in Sydney.
Despite the large geographical separation of these two cities, a local derby style rivalry has developed to determine which is the dominant North Queensland team.
Cairns and Townsville are two teams that are allegedly widely reviled by fans all around the league. Their rivalry mirrors that of South East Melbourne Magic / Victoria Titans / Victoria Giants and the Sydney Kings.
Being only 90 minutes drive away from each other there was always going to be a rivalry. This rivalry has also seen a Grand Final series where the Kings swept the Hawks in 3 games in a very one sided series winning all 3 in blowouts. Whenever the Kings are playing in Wollongong, WIN Entertainment Centre is usually sold out. Wollongong fans view the Kings as spoilt cousins, and as such, hate the Kings. The signing by the Evil Stydney Kings of beloved Wollongong hero Glen Saville has taken the rivalry to a new level, however, the Hawks are such a crap team that the Kings dominated them and torn them a new asshole. As such this wasn't really a rivalry as the Kings always were the better team.
In its infancy, but with all the hallmarks of being the battle of Victorian supremacy. Local derby matches typically sell out at the Tigers 3500 seat home stadium (mostly Tiger Fans), "The Cage", and attracts 7000–9000 fans to the Dragons home stadium, Vodafone Arena. In 2008 the rivalry became bigger when Ebi Ere (thought to have signed with the South Dragons in the pre-season) signed on with the Tigers.
There has been significant support for the NBL to expand into Asia by many NBL players as well as Australian national 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 The 2009/10 season is earmarked as the season in which the NBL will begin its revamping, much like the old National Soccer League which has now become the eight team A-League, with an eye to expanding to 10 teams within two seasons. The preffered method is to have three more teams in The Asia/Pacific region with locations such as Hong Kong, Manilla, Taipei, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and even United States territory Guam being earmarked as possible locations for clubs as well as re-instating the Slingers licence; although this expansion is not likely to happen for up to five more years. However it is possible the Perth Wildcats and/or a new Darwin franchise may make up the numbers in an Australasian division also Each of these clubs would then play just one home and one away game against each club not in its region or division and play up to three games against those clubs in its immediate area. A new Brisbane club is expected to replace the old Brisbane Bullets , thereby placing this team in a division of its own with the other three Queensland clubs, the Townsville Crocodiles, Gold Coast Blaze and Cairns Taipans. The Sydney Kings name was purchased for the sum of AU$20,000 on July 31st, 2008 adding hope to the club also making a return to the league Other possible locations for clubs include Hobart, Southern New Zealand and even an Australian Institute of Sport team based in Canberra comprising the best Australian players under the age of 22. Canberra has not had an NBL side since the Canberra Cannons which folded in 2003, the success of the AIS team in the Australian Women's National Basketball League underlies the likelihood of such a venture working
With the eventual expansion into Asia is it expected that Australia's significant Asian population would follow the game as well as creating revenue from pay-TV rights throughout Asia. With Basketball booming in Asia with the success in the NBA of Yao Ming as well as Yi Jianlin, Hamed Haddadi and Sun Yue Australia's role as hosting the best league in the region and one of the best in the world is obviously appealing The new NBL would ideally open the import restrictions to include Asian pasport holders as well as Oceania and possibly Southern Hemisphere born players to play as locals creating a wider player base and a better standard of basketball. Strong basketball nations such as Argentina, China, Brazil, New Zealand, Iran, Korea, Angola and The Phillipines would ideally all have representatives in the new league, which was recently merged with Basketball Australia
|1988||North 127, South 122||(The Glass House), Melbourne, VIC||Leroy Loggins, Brisbane Bullets|
|1989||North 141, South 143||(The Glass House), Melbourne, VIC||Andrew Gaze, Melbourne Tigers|
|1990||North 139, World 119||(Perth Entertainment Centre), Perth, WA||Derek Rucker, Brisbane Bullets|
|1991||North 168, South 154||(The Glass House), Melbourne, VIC||Mark Davis, Adelaide 36ers|
|1992||Australia 149, USA Stars 132||(AIS Arena), Canberra, ACT||Andrew Gaze, Melbourne Tigers|
|1993||NBL Stars 124, Australia 119||(Rod Laver Arena), Melbourne, VIC||Terry Dozier, Newcastle Falcons|
|1994||NBL Stars 101, Australia 133||(Sydney Entertainment Centre), Sydney, NSW||Tony Ronaldson, South East Melbourne Magic|
|1995||South Stars 138, North Stars 140||(Clipsal Powerhouse), Adelaide, SA||Robert Rose, Adelaide 36ers|
|1996||South Stars 132, North Stars 146||(Melbourne Park), Melbourne, VIC||Darryl McDonald, North Melbourne Giants|
|1997||North Stars 151, South Stars 142||(Sydney Entertainment Centre)), Sydney, NSW||Derek Rucker, Brisbane Bullets|
|2003/04||West 126, East 129||(State Netball and Hockey Centre), Melbourne, VIC||Ebi Ere, Sydney Kings|
|2004/05||Aussies 156, World 140||(Townsville Entertainment Centre), Townsville, QLD||Brad Newley, Townsville Crocodiles|
|2005/06||Aussies 151, World 116||(Sydney Entertainment Centre), Sydney, NSW||Darryl McDonald, Melbourne Tigers|
|2006/07||Aussies 133, World 136||(Distinctive Homes Dome), Adelaide, SA||Rashad Tucker, Melbourne Tigers|
|2007/08||Aussies 146, World 141||(State Netball and Hockey Centre), Melbourne, VIC||Nathan Jawai, Cairns Taipans|