The NBL1 will celebrate First Nations communities as part of NAIDOC Week, recognising the important role the competition’s players, staff and volunteers play in the national basketball landscape.
This year’s NAIDOC Week theme is Heal Country, which calls for stronger measures to recognise, protect and maintain all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and heritage.
Players around the country will wear jerseys designed by First Nations artists, while courts will pay homage to First Nations communities by having elders perform a Welcome to Country before the commencement of games.
Nine NBL1 South associations will wear specialised Indigenous jerseys, including Albury/Wodonga, Ballarat, Dandenong, Diamond Valley, Geelong, Kilsyth, Knox, North-West Tasmania and Nunawading.
NBL1 General Manager Dean Anglin noted the importance of this week in the wider basketball community.
“First Nations Australians have laid the foundation for the brilliant standard of basketball we now have in this country, demonstrated by the numerous First Nations peoples playing basketball across the world.
“We are delighted to be able to recognise our First Nations NBL1 players and are committed to doing so beyond NAIDOC Week.
“The NBL1 is continuing to create pathways for First Nations players, coaches, referees and volunteers in our game and is thrilled to have a number of First Nations people in the league.
“We will continue to do all we can to ensure NBL1 makes a meaningful and impactful difference in First Nations communities.”
Find out what these NBL1 South associations have revealed for the Indigenous Round games so far!
Ballarat had its 2021 Indigenous Round Launch last week and held a traditional Flag-raising NAIDOC Flag-raising at Viewpoint, Lake Wendouree, and a Smoking Ceremony and Acknowledgement of Country at Ballarat & District Aboriginal Co-operative (BADAC) on during NAIDOC Week.
The association’s jersey, yet to be revealed, was designed by Jayden Lillyst, who is not a player but has connections to Ballarat’s programs via Tony Lovett who is active with the West Vic Eels Indigenous Team. The jersey has been said to reflects the aspects of his journeys across the Western Region of Victoria and to Ballarat which also forms the same journeys as the pathways for aspiring junior basketball players in Ballarat’s programs.
For Diamond Valley’s home double header against Frankston, the Eagles have organised:
- Indigenous uniforms (yet to be revealed) – designed and made by Indigenous owned (and Supply Nation certified) Phyre Apparel;
- a First Nations performer – Kee’ahn (winner of the Archie Roach award at the 2020 Indigenous Music Awards) – to perform as a curtain raiser to the games and again in between the women’s and men’s games,
- A Welcome to Country by Wurundjeri Elder Uncle Ringo Terrick – booked through the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation.
Geelong unveiled its Indigenous Jerseys for their clash with the Mt Gambier Pioneers during the week. Artist David Flagg and apparel supplier KonQa created the symbolic jersey that encapsulates unity and the Geelong Supercats identity.
The Cobras jerseys will feature Indigenous artwork on the front and back, generously provided by Appleby Real Estate.
Knox’s jersey artwork was created by Trent Duffy. Here is his summary:
“The artwork celebrates the coming together by all for the indigenous round and celebration our culture art and basketball,
The artwork symbolises a meeting spot and everyone coming together for the indigenous round meeting.”
At their NBL1 game this weekend, Knox Basketball will have Rob Bamblett and his children performing cultural dances as well as playing the didgeridoo.
The Nunawading Spectres unveiled their very first Indigenous uniform designed by Katie Bugden ahead of this week’s NBL1 South Indigenous Round.
A Wiradjuri Kamilaroi woman who grew up on Bundjalung land by the sea, Bugden also played in the inaugural NBL1 season, and designed the Melbourne Rebels Super Rugby First Nations jersey earlier this year.
Speaking on her design, Bugden said,
“The design represents the strength and resilience of the people of the Kulin nation, the Warrior at the center is holding his spear and shield, he is painted in ochre.
“Surrounding him are the colours of country, the orange and yellows of our earth, the red of the blood shed by our ancestors who fought to keep our culture alive. The footprints of the kangaroo and emu represent the sport and culture moving ever forward, with the Yarra river at the top which is the lifeblood of the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung people whose land we live and compete on.”