NBL fans shoot hoops with Sydney Kings

By Ross Lane

In 2010 iiNet signed on as naming sponsor for the National Basketball League. To keep you up to date with the games as they happen, our resident NBL ambassador, Ross Lane, will be stopping by the iiNet Blog with the latest in NBL news.

To celebrate the coming of the New Year, the Sydney Kings basketball team recently held a basketball clinic. The day gave fans an opportunity to watch the lads train, meet the coaching staff and owners and then shoot some hoops with the players.

With Sydney Kings captain, Julian Khazzouh, still on his way back from the US, I strapped on my Sydney Kings #6 jersey and informed head coach Ian “Moose” Robilliard that he could count on me if Kazzhouh didn’t get back in time for his next game. Needless to say I’m not holding my breath for a phone call, but I have no doubt “Moose” will keep me in mind as a future prospect.

I did, however, get the chance to take some free throw line shots with none other than the master of the free throw line, Aaron “The Beast” Bruce. It was pretty amazing experience stepping up to the line to show one of my heros what I could or couldn’t do. “The Beast” was kind enough to offer me tips and help me with my technique.

Watching the lads train was great as they held shooting drills and three-point contests. The bond between the players was so clear that at times they seemed more like good mates getting together for a game rather than a professional sports team.

I could hear the coaching staff talking about Khazzouh as news spread that the big man had just got back to Australia and was ready for Friday night’s game. Then, as if on cue, Julian calmly walked onto the court to surprise his team mates with his return. The team then gathered in a huddle to welcome their Captain home. It was an amazing moment to witness.

After the session we grabbed some lunch with the players and chatted about Christmas plans and the upcoming games. There was even some time to chat and joke with players Alex Gynes and Aaron Bruce about their appearance in CLEO magazine this month.

These sorts of days are what make the NBL so special. The teams invest in their community and enjoy taking time out to spend with their fans. All in all it was a top day and one I’ll remember for a long time to come.

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