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The NBL, or the National Basketball League, is the marquee men’s basketball competition in Australia and New Zealand. While it may not have the superstars the NBA boasts, it still features some of the best players New Zealand and Australia have to offer. The first NBL season took place in 1979. It was played in the winter (April – September) and was won by the St Kilda Saints. In 1998, the season was changed to coincide with the summer months (October – April) to avoid competing directly against popular football codes, such as the NRL and AFL.
The league consists of eight teams, including the Wollongong Hawks, who are the only original team left. The NBL regular season is nowhere near as intense as the NBA, with only 28 games compared to a massive 82 hit-outs in the US competition. Each team plays 14 home games and 14 away games, with the top four sides advancing through to the finals. The teams which finish first and second get a home court advantage in the best-of-three match-ups against the teams which finished third and fourth. The winners of the semi-final series go on to play in the Grand Final (best of three matches) to determine who the NBL Champion is.
From all teams, both past and present, the Perth Wildcats have won the most championships, lifting the trophy six times. Both the Townsville Crocodiles and Cairns Taipans have made it to the grandest stage of them all to fall short on one occasion.
|YEAR||WINNER||RUNNER UP||SERIES SCORE|
|2014-15||NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS||CAIRNS TAIPANS||2-0|
|2013-14||PERTH WILDCATS||ADELAIDE 36ERS||2-1|
|2012-13||NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS||PERTH WILDCATS||2-0|
|2011-12||NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS||PERTH WILDCATS||2-1|
|2010-11||NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS||CAIRNS TAIPANS||2-1|
|2009-10||PERTH WILDCATS||WOLLONGONG HAWKS||2-1|
|2008-09||SOUTH DRAGONS||MELBOURNE TIGERS||3-2|
|2007-08||MELBOURNE TIGERS||SYDNEY KINGS||3-0|
|2006-07||BRISBANE BULLETS||MELBOURNE TIGERS||3-1|
|2005-06||MELBOURNE TIGERS||SYDNEY KINGS||3-0|
Just like every major sporting event in Australia, the NBL has an MVP award for the best player during the regular season. The NRL has the Dally M, the AFL has the Brownlow Medal and the A League has the Johnny Warren Medal. In the NBL, it is named in honour of Hall of Famer Andrew Gaze.
|2014-15||BRIAN CONKLIN||TOWNSVILLE CROCODILES||POWER FORWARD|
|2013-14||ROTNEI CLARKE||WOOLLONGONG HAWKS||POINT GUARD|
|2012-13||CEDRIC JACKSON||NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS||POINT GUARD|
|2011-12||KEVIN LISCH||PERTH WILDCATS||SHOOTING GUARD|
|2010-11||GARY ERVIN||WOOLLONGONG HAWKS||POINT GUARD|
|2009-10||COREY WILLIAMS||TOWNSVILLE CROCODILES||POINT GUARD|
|2008-09||KIRK PEMMEY||NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS||SMALL FORWARD|
|2007-08||CHRIS ANSTEY||MELBOURNE TIGERS||CENTRE|
|2006-07||SAM MACKINNON||BRISBANE BULLETS||SMALL FORWARD|
|2005-06||CHRIS ANSTEY||MELBOURNE TIGERS||CENTRE|