Jason Strother goes by the name Mr. Jumpshot on Twitter and though his jump shot may be questionable he is an avid NBL fan and a huge supporter of the Perth Wildcats. Jason tweeted me after the Wildcats vs. Hawks game wanting to catch up and offered to write something for the site.
What I like about Jason’s article is his candid recollection on how he fell in love with the sport. It is a story that I have heard quite a bit in recent years but that doesn’t make Jason’s any less special. As a fan of basketball and the NBL I love hearing these sorts of stories. I would love to hear more of them. Jason’s article is the first in what I want the call the CBAB Fanscipt – Haggard.
12 Rows up.by Jason Strother
“The NBL is boring” This is a statement I used to get when I asked the question, “have you been to a Wildcats game lately?”
The NBL is far from boring nowadays and I’m writing to tell you all a little bit about my NBL experience as a fan.
I’m lucky to be in Perth right now. My team is 6-0 for the start of the 13-14 season; which I agree makes being a fan of the sport easy. I can only describe my experience as a Wildcats fan but would assume it would be the same for everyone else and their respected teams they root for.
I remember being a kid in the 80’s watching Mike Ellis, Andrew Vlahov, Ricky ‘Amazing’ Grace, Trevor Torrence, Tiny Pinder, and the ‘Alabama Slammer’ James Crawford battling against the likes of Andrew Gaze and Shane Heal; absolutely loving the sport. It was a family thing to watch the basketball on a Friday night and as an 8 year old getting to stay up late to watch it was a bonus!
Then came the early 90’s, when the NBA was readily available to watch on free-to-air TV on a Saturday afternoon and Basketball Cards were the biggest craze out there. (I’m talking about the days of Jordan, Malone, Shaq, Webber, Barkley, Ewing, Penny, Kemp for those old enough to remember and those young enough not to know).
Then, as what usually happens; you grow up, meet girls, start partying, rebel, get your license and basketball got left behind for me.
It wasn’t until 2012 as a 30 year old that I got a glimpse of a Grand Final Game, by chance flicking through the channels for something to watch, between the Breakers and The Wildcats.
Watching that game brought back memories and that afternoon I went out and bought my first basketball as an Adult. Long story short, the next season we (the missus and I) became Wildcats Members and will continue to be for a long time, win or lose.
During the first season of membership (2012-2013) I got to meet the players and was star struck. I felt like a school girl meeting Justin Bieber when Damian Martin came and said hi!!
After going on Twitter and following all the Wildcats I could (as you do when you meet celebrities) I began having conversations with my man Greg Hire, number 4, SF Starting five and it felt like what I was saying was being heard and responded to as if I was chatting to a friend on FaceBook.
I could not believe how friendly these guys were.
After the next home game we went into the Granite Room at Perth Arena where I finally got to meet the Wildcats for the first time. I saw Matty Knight, Brad Robbins, Cam Tovey, Jeremiah Trueman, Shawn Redhage and when I got to Greg Hire he looked at me and said “how ya been buddy? How’s things?”
To most people this would mean nothing, but when someone you consider to be a celebrity notices you and says “Hi” first it’s a major uplift and conversation strikes up and before long you’re no longer star struck.
Then there is this season, 2013-2014. The first home game we went to the Granite Room again and Greg remembered who I was, what I had been up to in my life (maybe because I bug him so much on twitter hehehe) but to have a guy you look up to, remember you, and take the time to hear how YOU have been is great. Where else in the world do you get this? I hear of stories about players in other leagues shunning off fans because they’re tired, they don’t have time etc. etc. but these guys always make time for their fans; and it’s paying off.
The NBL is back on TV free-to-air EVERY Friday night, 9.30pm on OneHD and EVERY Sunday afternoon at 2pm on Channel 10. There is more media coverage on the news in primetime and on the radio, FM and AM with live games beamed across some AM radio stations.
There are signs everywhere and with the two new imports we have, James Ennis and Jermaine Beal, EVERYONE knows about the NBL.
With most of the teams playing “above the rim” with the likes of Chris Goulding, James Ennis, Daniel Johnson and a hell-of-a-lot of others dunking, fast-breaks off steals, big blocks and alley oops, how can anyone say it’s boring?
I no longer ask my friends, “have you been to a Wildcats game lately?” because they come to me and say “man, did you see Ennis on the weekend? The Cats are hot right now” to which I always respond, “I was there, at the game, 12 rows up!”
Take the time to follow Jason on Twitter. When he isn’t busy liking NBA2k14 videos he loves to chat about all things NBL.
If you would like to share your story or want to admit your man-crush on Greg Hire please get in touch via our contact page or get in touch on Twitter, Facebook or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I would love to post them.