Basketball On The Internet.

Sponsored by:

AllStar Photos

Specialising in Action, Team and Portrait Photography.


Advertising opportunities available.
Please contact me.

The fall and fall of SA basketball

REVELATIONS Adelaide 36ers had even forsaken practices at their traditional and ancestral home of Titanium Security Arena, simply pointed forward to more dark days ahead for basketball in South Australia.

And don't think there aren't wide-reaching ramifications for the sport in this state in this domino-like chain of events.

While the 36ers' decision to train at Port Adelaide Recreation Centre (below) succeeds in reuniting the club with a major part of its once rich history, the fact is that by moving from a purpose-built venue to a 50-plus-year-old stadium, is just a further step in the wrong direction.

Of course, once 36ers management decided it would relocate game nights to Adelaide Entertainment Centre, it immediately lost one of its major attractions in player recruitment, the fact the team trained where it played.

One of the first points of call for any new player flying in to join the 36ers was a trip from the airport to the team's home venue at Findon, where the new face could marvel at the facilities.

But when you have decided to move to a 10,000-seat venue - even though you were only averaging 6,100 in the 8,000-capacity facility - another casualty had to be training. Daily practising at the AEC was never an option.

When the relocation first was mooted, the 36ers planned to retain Titanium Security Arena as their training venue, which made perfect sense.

But by moving game nights out of The Arena, they left Adelaide Lightning remaining as the venue's major tenant and, therefore, the WNBL Grand Finalist had priority in selecting training times.

They chose 10am-midday, which also is the 36ers' preferred training time. But here's the rub.

Lightning do not even start their preseason schedule at The Arena until Monday, September 2, so that was virtually a month the 36ers could have stayed in their preferred timeslot and environment.

And The Arena management did offer the 36ers a permanent 1pm-3pm booking going forward. Having checked in with Jacob Holmes, CEO of the Australian Basketballers Association, he confirmed there was no player union-based impediment to teams training in the afternoon instead of the morning.

So again, in the timely words of 1982 and 1986 NBL champion, Australian Basketball Hall of Famer and Sixers stalwart Al Green (right) when asked about the move to train at the Port: "The whole game has grown ... and now you're downgrading. Is this the best you can do?"

Well no, clearly it wasn't because the 36ers could be training at TSA in their preferred timeslot until September 2, and then continuing on there for the rest of the season from 1-3pm.

Yesterday, management wasn't talking and even gagged its players from speaking to the media.

Yes, another very smart move at a time when shifting games to AEC means you need to be building your fan base, not alienating a media which can help you achieve just that!

Honestly, the future for basketball looks truly bleak.

The 36ers announcing plans to work with Basketball SA domestic clubs, assigning Sixers players to them and reconnecting with the sport's roots all sounds wonderful and worthy of a photo opportunity. But come on now.

In-season, the 36ers will be on the road as much as at home and while intentions might be grand - you know, no-one's ever thought of this or tried it before of course - the reality may prove a little less than spectacular. (That's just based on history, something rarely taken into account these days.)

The likelihood is BSA offered up a cheap rent or contra deal which took the 36ers to the Port. And 36ers management shortly will also move its administration to a location closer to the AEC on Port Road.

At that moment, it will have severed all ties with the very venue that the 36ers built! When Apollo Stadium's 3,000 capacity proved just too small, the Basketball Association of SA built the (then) Clipsal Powerhouse for the 36ers and for the sport, opening it in 1992.

There has hardly been an occasion when its capacity was inadequate. Purpose-built for basketball, you do not sit with your knees pressed up against the seat in front and sight lines are great anywhere in the place.

Maybe after 27 years, it was time to gamble on the AEC and the fact it is close to the city and has easy bus, tram and train access. But the ramifications of then also moving offices and trainings from The Arena mean basketball within a year or possibly two, will lose the venue altogether.

Whether it becomes a church or a shopping centre, the fact is, it will be gone.

Basketball SA also is looking at moving its offices out, so, ultimately, why should Scouts SA and the other owners of the Arena hold on to it when the sport itself has betrayed them?

Arena management declined to comment today but no doubt the venue is feeling the pinch as basketball bounces balls in its own face.

Lightning will survive and my guess is move to the new venue at Lightsview, "The Lights", a wonderful new five-court facility with a show court for just over 1,000. You can see all the synergies there immediately.

Basketball SA will have squandered its major venue - why it doesn't investigate adding a few extra courts on at The Arena instead of heading out is another mystery because that's also what could have occurred at Apollo Stadium back in the day.

So the state which erected the first purpose-built basketball venue in Australia with Forestville Stadium in 1953, grew into building the spectacular (at the time) Apollo Stadium in 1969 and then continued its growth with The Arena in 1992, will no longer have a place to call its headquarters or home.


That's the way I see it all going, unless the State Government wins the rights to the Commonwealth Games and hangs onto The Arena as a venue.

Then again, it was the State Government of the day which put so many impediments in the way of the Clipsal Powerhouse in 1992 as it belatedly built the AEC, so why trust this version now?

It's such a shame the work of so many pioneers and visionaries of the sport will ultimately go down the drain. On the upside, maybe BSA's Premier League Grand Finals will go to "home court advantage", given there won't be a headquarters for the game in a couple of years.

Aug 6

Content, unless otherwise indicated, is © copyright Boti Nagy.