I am in Darwin this week as the National Basketball League is holding its pre-season Blitz tournament. All 10 teams competing to win the Loggins-Bruton Cup. I am attending all the games as accredited media, representing the NBL Pocket Podcast.
These are my brief notes from Day 1.
A venue where the first NBL volunteer I meet is a friendly Darwin lawyer by day, basketball fan by night.
Plenty of NBL staff scurrying around 90 minutes before tip-off, getting score benches ready.
One of the cup namesakes, Cal Bruton, strolls into the stadium. Later in the night, I would speak to said man. This man who dazzled me I was 9 years old and he played for the Perth Wildcats.
Unlike the pre-season of two years ago in Tasmania, where beanies and hoodies were the go, here in Darwin is shorts all the way.
Players warm up on court, Craig Randall II draining many threes from NBA range, but shooting with less accuracy from NBL 3-point range. Having played G-League and with a dream of making the NBA, this shouldn’t be a surprise. That’s the range he’s been practising for years.
The crowd filled in and were genuinely excited to be here. They were getting into the cheers, and were 100% behind Kai Sotto. This support for Sotto remained evident after the game, when a scrum formed around him to take photos and be in his presence.
The broadcast had scoreboard issues. I became a defacto score updater for viewers via Twitter. At half-time I shared a printout of the half-time box score that I obtained from the score bench.