All Star game to support East Gippsland indigenous bushfire relief
The Australian basketball community have been instrumental in supporting the bushfire relief. From the elite stars playing at both at home and abroad through to state associations and clubs. Everyone continues to dig deep to do their bit to help their fellow Aussies in need. The indigenous community is no different.
Ricky Baldwin, Vice President of Australian Indigenous Basketball knows all too well the impact that the devastation caused has had on the Gippsland community. Hailing from the East Gippsland region himself, Baldwin wanted to do something to help lift the spirits of the local Koorie community, and bring together. As such, together with Bairnsdale Regional Unlimited Sports (BRUS), has organised a star-laden All Star game to be played at the Bairnsdale Sports & Aquatic Centre on 22 February.
“I was down in Bairnsdale 3 weeks ago taking down donations, and l did a coaching clinic with the local Koorie kids,” explained Baldwin. “My brother boy down there, Rod Harrison, l spoke to him about it [the impact of the fires] and how an All Stars game would bring the community together and most importantly, give the Koorie from down East Gippsland the opportunity to be around and engage with some high profile athletes during a very difficult time.”
The idea took off and quickly gained traction, turning into a massive event featuring a host of current and former sporting stars from a range of sports who all jumped on board to help out.
“It’s the first All Stars game of basketball they have ever had and the excitement is building around it,” enthused Baldwin.
“We have been working together on this with Alice Ann and Rod Harrison, with the BRUS All Stars set to play the Koorie Academy All Stars. When we reached to our contacts, all the athletes were only too happy to be involved, as all money raised will go directly to families affected by the bush fires.”
The two All Star teams will be led by a couple of Australian basketball legends.
“We have also managed to secure a couple of Australian basketball coaching legends to lead the two All Stars teams, with Uncle Danny Morseu and Brian Kerle making the trip.
“Perth Lynx rising star Nes’eya Williams is flying over from Perth, while Olympic legend Nova Peris will take part in the three-point shooting competition. Many former NBL and AFL stars have also volunteered their time to take part in the event.”
Some of those former NBL stars include Darren Lucas, Andrew Parkinson, Willie Simmons and Cameron Rigby. Former AFL stars Chris Johnson, Chris Egan and Nathan Lovett-Murray will also be taking part.
Baldwin explained that the appearance of Aboriginal sporting role models in East Gippsland after such a difficult time in the region was just as important as the money needed to get the impacted communities back on their feet.
“The special thing about sports it unites us together to give back. So if you are free on February 22 make sure you get down to support this deadly game – it’s going to be a great night of entertainment for the East Gippsland Aboriginal community.
“This is my mob – Gunai Kurnai. My mum is from Lake Tyers (Bung Yarnda) stolen generation, so this All Stars game means a great deal to me in many ways.”
The event will include a charity auction of sporting memorabilia, with all donations tax deductible via the Australia sports Foundation HERE.