So we thought we better start with a bit of an intro. What got us into this great game, invented by James Naismith 125 years ago.
It all started for me in the early 90s. As a kid we all knew MJ, and some of us knew Magic and Larry. “Yeah I can dunk”, said most of us 4ft somethings and Nike’s were starting to get popular even though the rich kids were the only ones who had them. TV One even started to play NBA replays on the weekend.
Then a small retail outlet called The Warehouse brought out big packs of NBA Basketball Trading Cards. About 8-10 small packs of cards inside one big plastic pack which contained players we had never heard of before. Now I knew about the Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors and the Minnesota Timberwolves (dam they sounded cool and where was Golden State??). I knew guys called Mookie Blaylock, Cedric Ceballos, Manute Bol, Carl Herrera & Mario Elie.
The NBA gained traction over here in NZ, the Dream Team played a part in Barcelona. Karl Malone became my favourite player in the 90s starting from here. Shaq became a household name along with guys like Barkley, Rodman and Pippen. Of course MJ was easily the favourite for most kids who knew about basketball and those that didn’t. Then came some movie called Space Jam, MJ, basketball and the NBA had arrived.
I went to a couple of games featuring my local semi pro basketball team in Napier, the Hawkes Bay Hawks, in the New Zealand NBL. This was awesome, I remember them losing to the Auckland Stars, the star studded team but we had an American called Willie Burton. The Hawks ended up losing the games I saw but along with Burton’s camp our school class went to, I was hooked.
By the mid 90s I had to choose a team, Karl Malone was my favourite player followed by Stockton and MJ. But I just hated Utah’s name, the Jazz. Spewing I can’t support these guys (plus the colours arghh). I couldn’t support the Bulls either, I wasn’t jumping on the bandwagon. So as you guys will find out, I love hard working, defensive and gritty teams. I found out about the Bad Boys (I had just missed this era). They had just drafted this guy called Grant Hill and he could be the goods, also Dumars was still there. That was me, I was a Pistons fan.
And then it faded. MJ retired for the second time after his sixth championship. Magic and Larry were long gone and free local TV didn’t play it anymore. But most importantly a new generation of NBA basketball fans were born (on the other side of the world).
So that’s the start from me, Ayden’s intro coming up soon…