History of Basketball in the Precinct

Melbourne Sports & Entertainment Centre

The first NBL game at The Glasshouse (now Holden Centre) was a double header on 4 April 1984. St Kilda defeated Nunawading and Geelong beat Coburg. The Centre became synonomous with Victorian basketball and the NBL's boom period - by 1987 four Victorian clubs called The Glasshouse home and by 1990-91 nearly 60 games were played there per season. In fact, such was the popularity, games were increasingly transferred across the road to Rod Laver Arena as the decade progressed.

The venue hosted its final match 5 June 1998 (North Melbourne d Perth), after an NBL record of 343 games. This figure included Championship deciders in 1984, 1988, 1989, and 1994, as well as All star games in 1988, 1989 and 1991.

Rod Laver Arena (formerly Flinders Park)

The first ever National Basketball League game at Melbourne Park was on 3 April 1992 with Melbourne Tigers beating Canberra 112-104. Tigers' new import Lanard Copeland had an immediate impact on his debut with 27 points the 4th quarter – still an NBL record for the final term. Basketball exploded during this time in Melbourne with the two Melbourne Park tenants (South East Melbourne Magic and Tigers) once packing the arena with 15,366 fans in 1996. The Tigers and Magic faced off for the 1992 title, as they did again in 1996 and 1997, and at least one Melbourne team featured in every League Grand Final between 1991 and 2000.

In 1999 the Magic become the Victorian Titans, sharing the venue with the Tigers for the next 2 years. The last ever game was played in April 2000 when the Titans lost game one of the Grand Final against Perth. Tony Ronaldson played at Melbourne Park a record 163 times and the best ever scoring performance was by Townsville player Ricky Jones who posted 53 points against the Magic in 1993. Rod Laver Arena hosted 287 NBL games including NBL Championship deciders in 1992, 1996, 1997 and 1998.

The Melbourne Tigers at Rod Laver Arena


Melbourne Arena

Significantly, Melbourne Arena hosted the 2006 Commonwealth Games basketball. The short lived NBL club South Dragons played home games at the venue from 2006-2009, coming from last to win the Championship in their final season.

Basketball has made a welcome return to Hisense Arena for the 2012/13 NBL season with the Melbourne Tigers playing home fixtures at the venue. From 2014, the franchise was known as Melbourne United. United claimed the 18/19 NBL Championship at Melbourne Arena in a five game series against the Adelaide 36ers.