We’re a long way from the blacktops of Brooklyn and the Bronx, but Melbourne is well-represented in basketball. From the 90s when Andrew Gaze and Shane Heal were reppin’ in the NBA to the more recent era of Andrew Bogut and Ben Simmons, we’re punching above our weight on a global scale.
Jermaine Maybank is hustling to be a big part of Melbourne’s continued on-court success. The Bronx native is working overtime to give the many unearthed jewels of Melbourne’s streetball scene some long-overdue shine. With family connections to streetball royalty Rod Strickland and former NBL star Drederick Irving (you may have heard of his son, Kyrie), and a history of playing for Fat Joe’s Terror Squad at Rucker Park, Maybank is just the man for the job.
After moving to Australia in 2008 to play professionally, Jermaine noticed a void in the scene and created Streetball Madness to fill it. He spoke to Complex AU about the culture of basketball, and the upcoming Battle Force streetball event.
For your chance to compete in Jermaine’s upcoming Streetball Madness tournament, hit this link.
So let’s start at the beginning – how did you go from playing streetball in the Bronx to professional basketball in Melbourne?
I got an opportunity to play in Brazil on a short-term contract in early 2008. But my grandfather had passed. The Brazilian team was basically saying ‘if you leave, don't come back'. So after the funeral was over I was looking for a job, and it just so happens that I grew up in the same area as Kyrie Irving's dad, Drederick Irving – him and Rod Strickland, they're all best friends with my uncle – I was in the gym working out, waiting on my agent to give me a call, and Drederick comes to me and says 'what the hell you doing here?’ He says 'let me make a phone call'. He had ties out here in Australia with Simon Mitchell, one of the assistant coaches over at Melbourne United. They sent me over here February 2008, and I've been here ever since. 10 seasons.