NBL's inaugural Indigenous Round to tip off this season
The Illawarra Hawks' preseason showing against the Indigenous All-Stars last year, spurred a movement --led by Boomers guard Patty Mills-- that's resulted in the NBL's first ever Indigenous Round.
According to Fox Sports Australia's Olgun Uluc, the league will host its Indigenous Round from 29 January to 2 February, over Round 18, that will recognise and acknowledge Indigenous culture and basketball across Australia and New Zealand. All teams will be wearing jerseys designed by Indigenous artists, with a Welcome to Country and an Acknowledgement of Country to be part of those games. Key members of the Indigenous community will also be invited.
Credit: Australian Indigenous Basketball
Two teams will host their Indigenous games away from that week. The Sydney Kings will reportedly be holding theirs in Sydney on 19 January, while the South East Melbourne Phoenix's Indigenous game will be on 9 February.
Update: the NBL has confirmed jerseys will be for sale on its online store, with the stories behind each design.
The New Zealand Breakers have also unveiled their jersey for the event on social media on Wednesday afternoon.
“There are a number of Indigenous players, officials and administrators who’ve made an important contribution to basketball both in Australia and New Zealand,” NBL Commissioner, Jeremy Loeliger, shared. “It’s important we recognise these key Indigenous figures in a meaningful and impactful way, while also acknowledging the contribution wider Indigenous communities have made to the game.”
According to Loeliger, proceeds from jersey sales will go towards the development of young Indigenous players. The NBL also plans to work with key stakeholders, to develop "a Reconciliation Action Plan to support the national reconciliation movement.”