“This team represented you, Adelaide. This team represented!”
Those were the words that bellowed from The Chosen One, the rambunctious Ball Up court announcer, after the Adelaide All Stars took their games directly to the Ball Up team, who were without their leader, The Professor, due to groin strain.
The Adelaide All Stars fought valiantly in the third quarter, raining consecutive threes to close a double digit deficit, before The Bone Collector and his crew of ankle-breaking sky-walkers dunked them into submission 102-92 – the closest game of the tournament thus far.
There was a strong emphasis on defense tonight as both sides had a point to prove. Alley Oop passes which usually go uncontested were deflected with urgency and the Adelaide boys resorted to fouls to stymie Ball Up’s overwhelming fast break offense.
To some extent the tactic worked, bringing Adelaide much closer to an upset than they may dare have hoped – it also ensured three Adelaide boys selection for the Ball Up final at Hisense Arena.
The game answered a question I raised in a previous article: Does Australia even have a street ball culture?
Evidently we do.
But in many ways the event proved to be exposé of the differences between American and Australian iterations of that culture.
Ball up were merrily accruing style points in the stereotypical American fashion while the Adelaide All Stars willed themselves into the contest with surprising teamwork and exceptional outside shooting. The juxtaposition of styles was not dissimilar to some of the Boomers vs. Dream Team games where Australia stuck in a little longer than they rightfully should have.
Attempts to involve the crowd fell flat at times with some calls to shout and scream going unheeded. Australian basketball fans tend to be quietly appreciative. They often find loud expressions of enthusiasm to be slightly embarrassing. As entertaining as The Chosen One’s barrage of hilarious remarks were, Australians don’t respond well to being told to shout.
Someone will need to give him the memo on that little cultural quirk.
Australians do, however, respond well to free stuff. And there were plenty of free shirts thrown around to keep the kids very happy.
With some of the dopest hip hop booming in the arena, some of the best street ballers fighting for credibility, and The Chosen One’s bewilderingly-awesome vocal styling, Ball Up shared the fun of street ball with a modest, appreciative crowd in the spirit of cultural exchange.
Remaining tour dates
25/6/16 Melbourne (Game 2)