This weekend the NBL1 will celebrate NAIDOC Week by hosting their Indigenous Round with players around the country wearing jerseys designed by First Nations artists.
The NBL1 is a semi-professional basketball league consisting of South, North, Central and West Conferences with both men’s and women’s competitions.
The league includes 58 clubs from around Queensland (15), Victoria (14), Western Australia (14), South Australia (11), Tasmania (3) and New South Wales (1), with each conference run by their respective state governing bodies.
Queensland’s RedCity Roar will face USC Rip City Saturday night at the Paul Bancroft Centre in Cleveland.
Roar’s General Manager Peter Pollock told NIT that as a club they are excited and proud the fans may see a completely Indigenous line-up on the floor tomorrow night.
“It’s likely at some point during the game tomorrow night, we’ll have five Indigenous players on the court at the same time, that’s pretty special,” Pollock said.
The women’s team has the coaching talents of Indigenous woman Cassie Dover, the sister of referee Jacqui Dover, who painted an artwork where NBL1 team members and ticket holders will put their thumb print on the canvas in the spirit and theme of NAIDOC Week, Heal Country.
The men’s side has eight Indigenous men including captain Darryl “DJ” McDowell-White and his younger brothers William, who recently returned from the NZ Breakers in the NBL, and 17-year-old Kobe.
The jerseys that will be worn by the Roar tomorrow night were designed by local Indigenous artists Matt Robert and Ambrose Killian from Ngalin Ayeye.
“The story behind the painting revolves around inclusiveness, belonging and connection to community and recognises and pays respect to the Traditional Owners of Quandamooka and Yoolooburrabee Country which the club operates on,” Pollock said.
There are currently 70 Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders in NBL1 including 39 men and 31 women.
By Teisha Cloos