In Australia, our recreation centers are packed with people of all ages and skill levels, taking to the courts, and playing the game we all know and love – basketball.
But for the longest time, most of the outdoor courts have been left eerily empty. Net-less basketball rings stand lonely, ravaged by time, forgotten by councils. If you listen closely, you might hear the squeaking of feet and the trash-talk of ballers long since gone. The ghosts of our streetball culture are mourned by all who remember the 1990’s, forever the glory days of Australian basketball.
Australia does not have a noted streetball culture. The braggadocio and unnecessary, herky-jerky moves which prize style above results are the antithesis of the hard working; fundamentally sound Australian basketball player, who fit the mold of a Matthew Dellavedova or Andrew Bogut.
And this is what makes Ball Up’s upcoming Australian tour so tantalizing and also, vexing.
The last time “The Professor”, the undisputed draw-card of the tour, came to Australia; the nation had little style to show the Americans.
It was 2007, and the And1 Mixtape tour had just finished touring Asia-Pacific and New Zealand. Teams from those countries were able to compete with the Americans, collecting style points for their own, unique flavor.
Australia, however, did not.
The And1 team dominated the Australians at Prahran, what could be described as our equivalent of Rucker Park.
There were no Australians who could successfully dunk the ball over the And1 sloppy defence. The Americans were puzzled, and it was not a good look.
A team representing Sydney with a number of fringe NBL players was able represent us a little better, but the highlights were, again, few and far between.
Fast-forward almost a decade later, and “The Professor” is back, surely with some new moves he has worked on, ready to take it to the uninitiated Australians once more.
For the month of June, Ball Up will be taking over Aussie basketball venues, exciting crowds, and taking no prisoners on court. And like during the And1 days, they will be challenged by teams made up of locals, with a lucrative Ball Up contract on the line if someone should impress.
But will anyone impress?
Will the Australian teams hold their own against the best in the states, who hail from a culture where streetball actually lives?
Is there an Aussie out there bouncing balls off heads and breaking ankles like drunk girls in stilettos?
And better yet, who might it inspire?
After watching the best streetballers on the planet ‘do they’re thang’, Aussie’s might develop some flavor of their own.
Could Ball Up get ‘Ballers’ back on the asphalt?
The Ball Up Australia Tour will be in;
5/6/16 Melbourne (Game 1)
25/6/16 Melbourne (Game 2)
For ticket information head to http://ballup.com.au/#tour