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Having played in the National Basketball League in Australia during the early 90’s, I’ve experienced basketball at its highest levels, regarding the total quality of extremely talented imported players, the professionalism of the Aussie superstars and the huge support of the corporate sector throughout the country. I was fortunate enough to play for the Brisbane Bullets and the Gold Coast Rollers but I became a household name with the Sydney Kings from 1991 to 1993.
I’ve played professional basketball in 7 different countries, using basketball as my passport to see the world. As a graduate from Villanova University, coupled with a Business Administration degree in marketing, I would like to think that qualifies me as one of the few executives that fully understand and comprehend the enormous task the Sydney Kings “Upper Management” have in front of them regarding winning the hearts (and dollars) of not only the Sydney community but more importantly, the corporate community throughout Australia.
I’ve had countless conversations with the last few regimes, over the past 20+ years, as they politely heard my ideas & grievances on the multiple ways of not only increasing exposure for the Club but also putting a product on the court that would make people want to attend games, both at home and on the road. The majority of those former executives heard me out while implementing their own strategies and plans that eventually, DID NOT WORK. Now we find ourselves back at a familiar place.
Having been a part of the Kings franchise when it reached its “pinnacle” I’m not only speaking from my personal experience but also from my professional acumen as a former player, coach, financial advisor with Merrill Lynch, business executive and most importantly, as a fan.
The Sydney Kings remain a recognizable sporting brand throughout the Australian landscape and I hope to witness it’s ascension to the heights, I once experienced in Australia’s largest city.
For the NBL to achieve it’s ultimate goal of rising up the ranks for popularity and seeking the corporate support as well, a successful franchise in Sydney is necessary.
Quite a few of my counterparts have thrown their hand at the problem, with no avail. I’ve witnessed GM after GM, come in with a promising strategic plan, but ultimately have been unable to successfully execute and deliver on their promises. I’ve seen half filled stadiums and witnessed an ugly brand of basketball being forced down the throats of the Sydney faithful. Now it’s 2018, with new management that brings a hope that we want to believe in so bad.
The hope is that the Sydney Kings return to relevance by putting a formidable product on the court while selling out arenas around the country. Our hope is that the corporate boxes sell-out and the television viewership exceeds our greatest expectations.
I’m hoping current management learns from the past failures of others to resurrect the once great franchise that Mike Wrublewski built and believed in.
All hail the Mighty Kings and let’s get it right this time; I’ll be watching!
Dwayne McClain