Some ideas are instantaneous. They take little development and can be actioned in the shortest time frame.
Others are built. They jump from one thought to another, one conquest to the next, and eventually become a larger venture than imagined.
The EDJBA was a creation from the latter.
In 1947, the Presbyterian Boys Association commenced a basketball competition in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.
Two years later, a parallel competition was formed in the eastern suburbs. This culminated premiership teams from each competition playing off to determine the Champion of Champions. Until 1962, all games were limited to Under-15 boys.
In 1963, the Presbyterian Men’s Basketball Association (PMBA) took over the running of the Junior Winter competition. At the end of the first season, a summer competition was started between interested Clubs, who formed themselves into the Melbourne East Basketball Association (MEBA).
Heading into 1969, most of the northern suburbs Clubs had transferred to the newly built Coburg stadium, and the PMBA and MEBA found they were mostly catering to eastern suburbs Clubs, especially with the opening of Nunawading and Bulleen stadiums in the early 1970’s.
The competition had grown from 31 teams in 1963 to 200 teams by the end of the decade.
Both organisations were also involved in other activities, such as senior men and representative basketball competitions. It was decided upon and agreed to that the formation of the Eastern Districts Junior Basketball Association (EDJBA) would be enacted in 1973.
48 years in the history books, and the EDJBA now stands as not only the largest junior competition in Australia, but one of the largest junior domestic basketball competitions in the Southern-Hemisphere.
Boasting over 1,390 teams and close to 11,000 participants, the EDJBA prides itself on providing an exceptional competition, suitable for all playing abilities including both boys and girls from the Under-8 to Under-20 age groups.
Since 2016, the association has seen five new basketball clubs join as members. This has equated to a new member club per year. Of its 21 member clubs, from Balwyn to Worawa Indigenous College, each carry their own tale of introduction and growth.
While the likes of Bulleen and Blackburn (formerly Nunawading) have been the backbone of the Association for decades, it’s always a positive note to see clubs growing both internally and externally. The Eltham Wildcats form the biggest club in the pool and continue to graduate incredible exports for the game.
Meanwhile Whitehorse, Coburg, Doreen, Fairfield, Greenhills, Mill Park and Mitcham all continue to expand the geographical region that the EDJBA covers.
While statical figures and time stamps demonstrate the growth of this goldmine competition in some respects, it’s the stories from the court and the sidelines that have made the EDJBA what we know it.
The EDJBA is a driver for kids’ participation in the sport throughout the eastern suburbs. It has the potential for continual expansion, exploding off the back of Australia’s interests in basketball.
Tokyo 2020 lights a path where junior athletes can aspire to one day hold an Olympic bronze medal with pride. Athletes are not born, they are made.
The EDJBA’s history may have already been written, but its future will be forever in motion.