In what can only be described as a major historical event, an International Indigenous Basketball and Cultural Showcase will take place on Thursday, 22 August in Melbourne, as a curtain-raiser to the Australian Boomers vs USA Basketball exhibition basketball game at Marvel Stadium.
The inaugural 2019 International Indigenous Basketball and Cultural Showcase will see Australian Indigenous Basketball national team’s face-off against visiting Kingdom of Hawai’i (KOH) national representative squads on the Marvel Stadium floor at 5pm Melbourne time.
The event will feature representative teams of women and men, with the game itself including two fifteen-minute halves, with the women’s teams taking the floor for the first period and men’s teams hitting the hardwood for the second half.
The Australian Indigenous All-Star team will feature the likes of Alex Wilson (Sydney Uni Flames) and Jessica McDowell-White (Eastern Washington) on the women’s side. Tamuri Wigness (NBA Global Academy), Nathan Jawai (Cairns Taipans) will be headlining the men’s team.
Joel Khalu, Australian Indigenous Basketball Chief Executive Officer and head coach of the men’s national team, believes the event will provide a special platform to unite people in a celebration of culture through sport.
“It’s historic for Australian Indigenous Basketball to deliver an event of this magnitude on the world stage,” Khalu said.
“Basketball-wise, this is certainly the type of contest that could inspire the next Patty Mills, Nathan Jawai, Rohanee Cox or Leilani Mitchell. We want more of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth participating in sports, particularly basketball.”
“When our AIB representative players step out on-court at Marvel Stadium, I’m sure it will be a moment they’ll never forget.
In addition to the on-court showcase, the Indigenous cultures of Australia and Hawai’i will both be celebrated as part of the game-night festivities. Both Indigenous nations will have their anthem performed in traditional language and respective dancers from each cultural group will also perform on-court.
Prior to the Thursday night contest at Marvel Stadium, both nations will also play games on Tuesday night, August 20 at the State Basketball Centre in Knox.
Australian Boomers guard, Patty Mills is an Australian Indigenous Basketball ambassador and spoke of his excitement at being a part of these landmark events.
“Maintaining culture and traditions in any family, or society is crucially important. It helps build, develop and mould an individual into who they will eventually become. It forms an identity and will be the core of all values that evolve,” Mills said.
“The coming together of two different Indigenous cultures from around the globe, through today’s popular sport of basketball, is a creative way to keep thousands of years of Indigenous traditions relevant in the rapidly growing modern society.
“As a representative and role model for Indigenous people throughout multiple countries, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the process for this event on the court and also in our community but at this time I would like to thank Basketball. For giving us Indigenous people, the platform and opportunity to encourage our identities and to keep our cultures alive.”
Tickets to the Australian Boomers vs USA Basketball on Thursday 22 August, featuring the Australian Indigenous Basketball national team against Kingdom of Hawai’i (5.00pm) are available from Ticketmaster (link).
AUSTRALIAN INDIGENOUS BASKETBALL ALL STARS MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM
- #1 Verle Williams – Mackay Meteors (QBL)
- #2 Tyson Demos – Illawarra Hawks (NSW Waratah League)
- #3 Deba George – Albury-Wodonga Bandits (NBL1)
- #7 Tamuri Wigness – NBA Global Academy
- #9 William Hickey – Melbourne Tigers (NBL1)
- #10 Chris Cedar – Mackay Meteors (QBL)
- #15 Nathan Jawai – Cairns Taipans (NBL)
- #17 Darryl McDowell-White – Masters University (NAIA D1, USA)
- #24 Michael Cedar – Logan Thunder (QBL)
- #33 Tidjane Diop – Gold Coast Rollers (QBL)
- #54 Chris Patton – Kilsyth Cobras (NBL1)
AUSTRALIAN INDIGENOUS BASKETBALL ALL STARS WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM
- #5 Ambah Kowcun – Forestville Eagles (SA Premier League)
- #7 Jessica McDowell-White – Eastern Washington (NCAA D1)
- #8 Alex Wilson – Sydney Uni Flames (WNBL)
- #10 Georgie Baldwin – Knox Raiders (NBL1)
- #11 Alana Fraser – Logan Thunder (QBL)
- #13 Naomi Moke – Cairns Dolphins (QBL)
- #14 Rebekah Dallinger – North Sydney Bears (NSW Waratah League)
- #15 Jasmin Fejo – West Adelaide Bearcats (SA Premier League)
- #24 Tahlia Fejo – West Adelaide Bearcats (SA Premier League)
- #35 Nes’eya Williams – Perth Redbacks (WA State League)