The NBL All-Star game is back, something fans have been waiting for since 2008.
The leagues annual showcase has given us unforgettable performances from the greatest players to ever grsace these shores, but in the game which features our leagues brightest stars, which players have shone brightest?
To coincide with the return of the NBL’s yearly showcase, we at aussiehoopla.com decided to look back at the greatest NBL All-Star game performances in the leagues history.
Nathan Jawai (Cairns Taipans) – 24 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block
Game Result: Aussie All-Stars 146 dft. World All-Stars 141 (2007)
Nathan Jawai only played one season in the NBL and statistically there has been some better performances than what Jawai produced in the 2007 but never has there been a more dominant performance in an NBL All-Star game.
The All-Star game returned to Melbourne in 2007 after a hiatus and the sold-out State Netball and Hockey Centre in Melbourne became witness to Jawai dunking on all-comers in what seemed like a game of one man against a group of boys. He scored at will, shooting 10/15 from the field and when he was on the floor it seemed like no one from the world team could score at the other end.
This was Nate Jawai’s curtain call before making his debut in the NBA and possibly most Australian’s favorite memory of the Big Man from Bamaga time in the NBL.
Robert Rose (Adelaide 36ers) – 31 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assists, 3 steals
Game Result: North All-Stars 140 dft. South 138 (1995)
In an amazing game that came right down to the wire in front of a raucous Adelaide crowd, hometown hero Robert Rose could not be stopped. Rose was dominant at both ends of the floor, he led all scorers with 18 at the half and finished with 31 points on 12/18 shooting and 3 steals on the defensive end.
The game was a neck to neck battle which was ultimately decided by Newcastle’s Derek Rucker who dribbled coast to coast, drawing the defence before dishing a behind the back dime with 1.5 seconds left to Hobart’s Jerome Scott who delivered the buzzer beating shot underneath the basket. Despite the loss the Rob Rose was named game MVP for his performance in one of the best NBL All-Star games in league history.
Brad Newley (Townsville Crocodiles) – 35 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists
Game Result: Aussie All-Stars 156 dft. World All-Stars 140 (2005)
It was all about Townsville in 2005. 5078 Crocodiles fans came out to see their import Robert Brown first take out the Dunk Comp and then light it up for 31 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists… but that wasn’t even the highlight for Townsville. That came in the form of Brad Newley who would become the first NBL rookie to win the All-Star MVP award before making history by winning the league Rookie of the Year and sixth man of the year awards in the same season.
Newley had a point to prove as his inclusion into the game edged out NBL legend Andrew Gaze and some members of the public were outraged a rookie who came off the bench in the NBL should take the spot of the greatest player in NBL history. But Brad Newley silenced his critics with 35 points, going 14/26 from the field and 5/10 from downtown in only 29 minutes in a very memorable All-Star performance.
Mike Mitchell (Gold Coast Rollers) – 39 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks
Game Result: – South All-Stars 168 dft. North All-Stars 158 (1991)
During the early 90s Mitchell was one of the league’s most popular players and despite playing for struggling Gold Coast Rollers franchise he was named in the NBL All-Star five his debut year in the league. The 6’8” Man-Beast looked at Bruce Bolden, Jason Reese and Dean Uthoff like BBQ chicken that night and could not be stopped. Mitchell obviously made a huge impression on the North team’s coaching staff which included Bruce Palmer who signed Mitchell as the Brisbane Bullets import only three years later.
It’s tough to be named MVP in a losing effort so that honour went to Adelaide’s Mark Davis who delivered 31 points 14 rebounds, 3 assists while shooting 13/16 from the field in his own performance certainly was deserved of the award but Mitchell’s performance that night was nothing short of dominant.
Andrew Gaze (Melbourne Tigers) – 43 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals
Game Result: South All-Stars 143 dft. North All-Stars 141 (1989)
1989 was the first year the Melbourne Tigers reached the NBL post-season. 1989 was the year the Melbourne Tigers reached the NBL play-offs for the first time, shedding their “semi-professional” status within the league at the same time. That season laid the foundation for the championship teams that were soon to come and it also included Andrew Gaze’s first All-Star game.
The game was played in Melbourne crowd at the Glasshouse. Soon to be Hall of Famer Ken Cole was the coach of the South team and knew what the local fans wanted so he played Andrew Gaze 44 of a possible 48 minutes.
Drewy was practically unconscious as he went 16/27 from the field which included 8/14 from behind the three-point line.
Scott Fisher, in his home gym nailed a mid-range floater to seal the game for the South and although he was on the losing North team Andrew was still awarded the game MVP.
Andrew Gaze (Melbourne Tigers) – 43 points, 1 rebound, 4 assists, and 2 steals
Game Result: Australian Boomers 149 dft. USA Stars 132 (1992)
In order to help prepare the Australian National team for the Barcelona Olympics the league altered the 1992 format of the All-Star game to an Australia vs. USA All-Stars format. The game was held in front of a small crowd at the AIS arena and would ne notable for the fact that it featured seven future and former NBA players, including Minnesota Timberwolves current player Luc Longley. Going head to head against his Tigers teammate Lanard Copeland, “Drewy” led the Boomers to victory with 43 points in an amazing shooting display, going 16/24 from the field and 6-12 from beyond the arc.
In a no-brain decision for the judges Andrew Gaze was named NBL All-Star MVP for the second time in his career.
Darryl McDonald (North Melbourne Giants) – 22 points, 10 rebounds, 15 assists, 5 steals
Game Result: North All-Stars 146 dft South All-Stars 132 (1996)
How the South lost this game is beyond me as it featured two of the greatest NBL All-Star performances in the same game. Leon Trimmingham led all scorers with 32 points, many breath taking dunks that were worthy of winning that years Slam Dunk competition, while adding 8 rebounds, 1 steal and 2 blocks also.
As a result of shooting 21/39 from down town the North took home the win. It was an amazing shooting display by the North All-Stars, particularly Shane Heal (6/11 3pt%), Terry Johnson (5/7 3pt%) and Derek Rucker (4/9 3pt%). The man who stole the show however was D-Mac who delivered the first triple double in NBL All-Star history (and close to the first ever quadruple double also) while shooting 10/13 from the field.
After the game Darryl McDonald himself made comment the he was surprised to receive the award in a losing effort but looking back today it’s clear he his performance was worthy of MVP and was arguably the greatest performance in NBL All-Star game history.