Basketball in Australia – A Brief History

Basketball has been a much-loved sport across the globe for decades, with the first basketball game in the United States stretching back well over 100 years. But have you ever thought of how the sport found itself in Australia?

Basketball as a competitive sport has seen great success Australia, with both professional men’s and women’s national teams enjoying increased popularity and recognition in the country. So, inspired by our gratitude for the game, let’s explore a brief history of basketball in Australia.



Basketball in Australia starts in 1897, only six years after its invention in the United States. The first game ever held was in South Australia and was between Our Boys Institute (OBI) and the Young Men’s Christian Association Training School (YMCA). The sport soon quickly spread across Adelaide and Victoria. Eventually making its way into small towns, basketball started to make an impression throughout all of Australia. The social aspect of basketball helped kids and adults alike pass the time in summer months.


Organised Associations

In 1931, the Victorian Basketball Association helped expand the sport in Australia with organised events. This was shortly followed by the emergence of the NSW Basketball Association and then the formation of the Amateur Basketball Union (ABU) in 1939. The ABU became the first national governing body of basketball and eventually changed its name to the Australian Basketball Federation.


Women’s Basketball

The first Australian women’s national basketball team was formed in 1957, and the popularity of the sport continued to climb until 1981 when the Women’s National Basketball League was formed. Initially there were six teams inducted into the league, and now there are currently eight.


Basketball Today

Today, basketball remains as popular as ever in Australia and is an exceptional way for kids and adults to stay fit, have fun and experience the beauty of healthy competition. Our men’s international basketball team, The Boomers have won multiple championships across the world, and our women’s national team, The Opals have enjoyed great success and world championship wins over the past few decades.

The infiltration of basketball into Australian culture has seen the sport pop up in suburban backyards, local parks and sporting stadiums on weekends, and produced world-class international rivalries and home-grown heroes. So, whether you shoot hoops with your siblings after school, or are working hard to one day play on the big stage, stay true to the game – you are making history.