The NBL achieved something great on Sunday.
The in front of 17,514 passionate spectators in Sydney — the largest attendance in the basketball competition’s history.
Why is it in Australia, though, that we have this mentality where if your sport is doing well you have to turn around and have a dig at someone else?
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I’m talking about.
An article published in The Australian made direct comparisons between the NBL and the A-League — particularly in relation to ‘poor crowd and television figures, no real superstars and a standard of play far below the rest of the world’s domestic leagues’.
At the end of the day, an elite level of basketball is played in just one country — the United States. So why can’t people here just enjoy what they witnessed on Sunday? The spectacle was great, just savour this moment without slating someone else.
When you get to the crux of this ‘argument’, you can’t compare the two sports — it’s as simple as that.
There are no other domestic leagues around the world that come close to the Premier League or La Liga, so it’s unfair to draw similarities to the A-League with those.
Even in the Brazilian top flight or in some of South America’s best divisions, they wouldn’t even dare compare themselves to the Premier League.
I’ve got a friend whose son goes to the basketball, they actually went to Qudos Bank Arena to watch the Kings and the Hawks, but he normally goes to see Sydney FC most weekends.
So is he not allowed to like both?
I think this is a fairly logical question to ask if we’re going to adopt this kind of divisive mindset.
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The NBL is not a competitor to the A-League. Basketball, globally, is not a competitor to football. These are two different sports. One you play with your feet and the other you play with you hands.
I don’t know many people who would turn around and say they hate basketball. There’s certainly not a lot of people worldwide who would turn around and say they hate football, but I just don’t see how these two great sports are comparable.
It shows there are often those with an innate dislike of our game.
What was insinuated by some was the worst possible outcome for both sports because instead of just celebrating the beauty of what had happened you’re damaging the two at the same time.
When you see a sport, especially in this country, begin to take off and gather momentum we should be applauding it — not taking shots.
While we recognise that small-minded comparisons are not what the A-League needs, these comments do provide us with an opportunity to reflect on our code as a whole — and in all honesty, we’re doing a lot better than what some think.
Domestically, it’s important to remember the A-League is up there with the world’s best. The numbers are actually pleasantly surprising and our crowds are up there in the top 20 football leagues in the world. That is extraordinary when you think of football as the most popular sport on earth by a country mile.
If we really wanted to compare crowd numbers with the NRL and the AFL, considering their competitions are the only sort of that nature in the world, we’re not doing too bad given we’re competing with other football leagues across the globe.
When I first saw those crowd numbers for NBL game on Sunday, my immediate reaction was a positive one — I knew how big this moment was for the sport.
We should be celebrating milestones like this as a nation, not using it as a platform to hammer football.
We, as football fans, can do that ourselves.