Australia’s National Basketball League Honors Indigenous Community with Special Edition Jerseys

The National Basketball League (NBL), which operates in Australia and New Zealand, is paying tribute to Indigenous communities across the two nations with special jerseys to be worn during the league’s second-ever Indigenous Round.

The Indigenous Round games will be played between March 4 and 14, 2022. The NBL says the the goal of the Indigenous Round is to “celebrate, recognise and acknowledge Indigenous culture across Australia and New Zealand.”

Each of the 10 teams in the league has commissioned a local Indigenous artist to create a jersey for their games in the round that reflects the area’s unique Indigenous culture.

The NBL and its clubs will host Indigenous basketball initiatives during the round. The league is also instituting an Indigenous Player Rule that it hopes will encourage young Indigenous players to go further in basketball. The rule states:

  • The NBL will fund 50% of the minimum salary for all eligible Development Players.
    • An eligible Indigenous player is an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who has never been fully contracted by an NBL club, is in the first six years of his professional career and has not played professionally anywhere else.
  • If an eligible player is fully contracted in his first, second or third year, they will be exempt from the calculation of that club’s aggregate salaries for the purposes of the salary cap.
  • For those same players but in their fourth, fifth or sixth year, a 50% exemption will apply for the purposes of salary cap calculations.
  • In order to qualify for these benefits, the contracting club must have adopted an organizational cultural safety program approved by the League.

There are currently six Indigenous players on NBL club rosters, plus one Indigenous assistant coach.

The first NBL Indigenous Round was held from Jan. 29 to Feb. 2, 2020.

Feature photo courtesy NBL.com.au