Australian basketball is having a moment right now. We’ve got more ballers in the NBA and WNBA than ever before. Melbourne is home to more number one draft picks over the last 20 or so years than any other city. Our local league is hitting heights it hasn’t seen since the glory days of Gaze & Copeland.
The NBL is making high-impact moves, and the tremors are being felt right across the world. Just wait until you see LaMelo lining up a free throw sometime in the coming NBA season, with ‘Illawarra Hawks’ under his name in the stat box on the screen.
It’s not just a global thing though. The reach of the league extends from LaMelo’s hometown of California’s Chino Hills to Traralgon in Victoria’s LaTrobe Valley. The sleepy town of around 25,000 people is known for a royal visit in 1954 and a heritage-listed post office. It’s not the kind of place you would expect to unearth world-class basketball talent, but it’s 2020; nothing is as it seems anymore.
Traralgon is also the hometown of Jack White, a 6’7” forward who grew up balling on hardwood floors across the state. At 14, he was already playing in the senior leagues; not out of necessity but out of a desire to challenge himself. At 18, he went to Duke and became a Blue Devil. At 20, he became the captain of Coach K’s famous NBA nursery.
His next challenge lies in the NBL. Jack has committed to Melbourne United and, once the Covid delays are over, will line up alongside Chris Goulding and the rest of the squad for a run at the title.
Complex AU caught a few minutes with Jack to discuss chasing dreams, beating Covid, and Champion’s new deal with the NBL.