Holding a double-degree in Business Marketing/Sport & Recreation Management gives an insight into the passion and knowledge that Mark holds for sport and recreation. To compliment his studies, Mark currently works in numerous roles within profession sport both during the week and on weekends. Mark was also heard from time to time on Western Australian radio, providing an expert insight into various sporting issues currently being discussed in the media.
On a personal note, Mark is heavily involved within his local sporting community, in particular with his basketball and indoor netball commitments.
As well as being the co-owner/manager with Daniel (DJC), Mark’s main areas of interest when it comes to writing are AFL, Cricket and Basketball, however as can be seen he will write on any sport and every sport! He is also responsible for keeping everyone as up to date as possible using the Pen and Paper Sports Facebook page.
The NBL has introduced a Heritage Round into the current 2011/2012 to celebrate the 32 year history of the national competition. The NBL, when it first started in 1979, was made up of the St Kilda Saints, Nunawading Spectres, West Adelaide Bearcats, City of Sydney Astronauts, Newcastle Falcons, Canberra Cannons, Bankstown Bruins, and Glenelg Tigers. The only current NBL team that has been in since the beginning is the team from Wollongong, the Melbourne Tigers joined the league in 1980 and are the second longest club within the competition
This weekend is the Heritage Round in question, Round 7 of the NBL season. The Melbourne Tigers are one of the most storied clubs in the 32 year history of the NBL, winning the championship four times and providing Australian basketball with some of the past players the country has ever seen. The Tigers have made an amazing 20 NBL Finals appearances, reaching the Grand Finals seven times for those four championships.
In 1993, the Tigers won their first championsip against Perth in three games: 117-113, 105-112, 104-102.
In 1997, the Tigers won their second championship against South East Melbourne, again in three games: 111-74, 78-84, 93-83
In 2006, the Tigers won their third championship against rivals Sydney, once more in three games: 100-93, 103-99, 88-83
The Tigers won their fourth championship in 2008 against Sydney once more, this time in five games: 74-95, 104-93, 89-87, 87-90, 85-73
The Tigers have also introduced the country to some of the greatest players we have seen in our competition. Players like Andrew Gaze, Lanard Copeland, Chris Anstey, Darryl McDonald and many more.
Andrew Gaze is the most recognisable Australian basketballer and that isn't likely to change any time soon! After starting in the NBL in 1984 he went on to win Rookie of the Year honors in that season and has also won the league MVP award a record seven times from 1991,1992,1994-1998.
When Gaze retired from the NBL in 2005 he had 18,908 points in the NBL over 612 games in his 22 seasons at an average of 30.9 points per game which made him the leagues all-time leading scorer.
Aside from being the greatest player in Australian basketball, Gaze also had an exceptional international reputation. He won the Australian International Player of the Year award six times and represented the country in five Olympic games campaigns. He is the all-time leading scorer in Olympic competition and second all-time in World Championship competition.
The back-court combination of Andrew Gaze and Lanard Copeland is possibly the greatest that will be seen in the NBL! Copeland played 449 games (second only behind Andrew Gaze), scored 9,862 points (21.9 per game), gave out 1,438 assists (3.2 per game), blocked 233 shots and grabbed 1,763 rebounds during his time with the Tigers. He played with the Tigers from 1992-2005 earning Grand Final MVP for 1997 and also All-NBL First Team honors in 1992 and 2002.
As one of the greatest teams in the NBL's history it would be a great feeling for the current players to pull on the Tigers uniform each night. Two current players Bennie Lewis and Cam Tragardh were able to tell me exactly what that felt like for them -
Bennie Lewis: "Playing for the Tigers is one of the best opportunities I have had in my career. If it weren’t for the Tigers I would not be a professional player at the moment. I wear this jumper with pride every time I step on the floor."
Cam Tragardh: "Putting on a Tigers jersey each week is a dream come true for me! Carrying on the legacy of legends of our great club makes me proud when I put the jersey on. I'm certainly blessed to wear the jersey of the most recognised brand name in Australian basketball history!"
That is just a brief look at the highlights of the Melbourne Tigers within the NBL and the two players who I believe to be the greatest in the clubs history. I'm sure other people have other ideas however, the fact remains that the Tigers are a staple part of the NBL and they have introduced us to some amazing players. Here's hoping for continued success for the Tigers and the NBL.
The Tigers will be honoring their 1993 championship team before the home game against Perth this Friday night at the Cage. It promises to be a great occasion and a great tightly contested game, so I recommend you see if tickets are still available and make your way down to the Cage this Friday night at 7.30!
Image courtesy Melbourne Tigers