WOLLONGONG, AUSTRALIA - If Australian Indigenous Basketball (AIB) President Tyson Demos has his way, the pre-season Indigenous challenge against the Illawarra Hawks will be the first of many future NBL games for the AIB All Stars national team.
Demos, a local Wollongong basketball standout played 128 NBL games for the Hawks from 2010 to 2016. The 31-year old will hit the hardwood at the Snake Pit for a final time on Saturday night, when he lines up for the AIB All Stars, something he takes great pride in doing.
While he’s keen to represent well for his home crowd, Demos is more focused on what the overall event means for AIB and its younger cohort of players.
“Competing against an NBL team is a huge step forward and a great opportunity for AIB,” Demos said.
“We’ve been keen on playing an NBL side for a few years now and it just so happens the first time will be against my old club.”
“That’s a great reflection on the Hawks though. They’ve been the leader in the NBL with their commitment to Indigenous community engagement and this game highlights how much they believe in giving our young Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander players the chance to shine on a stage of this magnitude.”
“It’s our hope that other NBL clubs will take notice and also invite our AIB All Stars national team to their home venues to play pre-season games into the future.”
The AIB All Stars are coming off an 119-100 win against the Kingdom of Hawai’i in the International Indigenous Basketball and Cultural Showcase held in Melbourne two-weeks ago.
The sold-out Saturday evening Snake Pit matchup will be the first official hit out for the new-look Hawks squad, as they prepare 2019-20 NBL season. The game will give fans a first glimpse at new recruits LaMelo Ball and Josh Boone, while standouts from last season Todd Blanchfield, Emmet Naar & Tim Coenraad will also make appearances.
The event, presented by the Illawarra Aboriginal Medical Service (IAMS) will also include cultural entertainment, making it an even bigger treat for spectators. Doors open at 6:30pm, with tip off set for 7:30pm.