NBL Teams

The National Basketball League (NBL) is Australasia’s premier men’s pro-basketball tournament and the league now consists of ten NBL teams following the addition of the South East Melbourne Phoenix for the 2018-19 season and the Tasmania JackJumpers.

Nine of the NBL teams hail from Australia and one is based in New Zealand. The NBL was founded in 1979 and since then the most successful NBL team boasting ten titles is the Perth Wildcats out of Western Australia.

The current NBL teams that vie for the NBL championship title each season are the: Adelaide 36ers, Brisbane Bullets, Cairns Taipans, The Hawks, Melbourne United, Perth Wildcats, South East Melbourne Phoenix, Sydney Kings, Tasmania JackJumpers and New Zealand Breakers.

NBL Teams: Tasmania JackJumpers (Photo: Wiki) | Ladbrokes
The Tasmania JackJumpers are the newest NBL team playing for the first time in the 2021/22 season. Photo Credit: Wiki

NBL teams traditionally compete over a season starting anywhere from October – December and finishing-up with the NBL Finals in February – March / April the following year. The NBL teams face off across a regular season that sees them play 14 home and 14 away games each for a total of 28 games played before the finals NBL season that pits the top four teams against each other. Just two of the current NBL clubs are foundation clubs – the Brisbane Bullets and The Hawks the two oldest teams in the tournament.

The Bullets have a disjointed history playing from 1979 – 2008. They were reintroduced due to popular demand for the 2016-17 NBL Season. The Hawks meanwhile played under that title from 1979 – 1998 before a reintroduction in 2015-16 following a stint from 1998-2015 as the Wollongong Hawks.

The latest teams to join the NBL is the South East Melbourne Phoenix who were founded in 2018 before their inaugural season playing in the 2019-20 competition followed by the Tasmania JumpingJacks playing for the first time during the 2021-22 season.

The other youngest NBL team founded in 2003 is the New Zealand Breakers, located in Auckland on NZ’s North Island. The last defunct NBL team to leave the competition was the Townsville Crocodiles who played their final season in 2015-16 after suffering financial instability.

Below is a more detailed look at the ten NBL teams (alphabetically) including their home cities, arena, current head coach and team colours.

Adelaide 36ers

Formerly called the Adelaide City Eagles the club adopted the name 36ers in 1983 harking back to South Australia’s history with the Colony officially decreed in 1836. They are one of the most successful teams in the NBL with four championships.

  • City: Adelaide, South Australia
  • Arena (Capacity): Adelaide Entertainment Centre (11,300)
  • Foundation Year: 1982
  • Club History: Adelaide City Eagles (1982), Adelaide 36ers (1983-present)
  • Team Colours: Blue, Red & Yellow
  • Head Coach: C.J. Bruton
  • Captain: Mitch McCarron
  • Mascot: Murray the Magpie
  • NBL Championships: 4 (1986, 1998, 1999, 2002)
  • Retired Numbers: 4 (4, 5, 15, 33)

Brisbane Bullets

The Bullets made a return to the NBL for the 2016-17 season playing for the first time since 2008 when they departed from the league. They have enjoyed three NBL Championships (1985, 1987 and 2007) with the latest won at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, not their current home venue at the Convention Centre, to increase crowd capacity.

  • City: Brisbane, Queensland
  • Arena (Capacity): Nissan Arena (5,000)
  • Foundation Year: 1979
  • Club History: Brisbane Bullets (1979-2008; 2016-present)
  • Team Colours: Maroon, Gold & Blue
  • Head Coach: James Duncan
  • Captain: Jason Cadee
  • Mascot: Boom
  • NBL Championships: 3 (1985, 1987, 2007)
  • Retired Numbers: 4 (7, 22, 30, 52)

Cairns Taipans

The Taipans’ home venue is nicknamed “The Snakepit”. They are yet to win a Championship in the League but have finished runners-up in 2011 and 2015. Their past notable rivals were the Townsville Crocodiles who left the league in 2015 due to financial difficulties and are now the sole team from North Queensland in the competition.

  • City: Cairns, Queensland
  • Arena (Capacity): Cairns Convention Centre (5,300)
  • Foundation Year: 1999
  • Club History: Cairns Taipans (1999-present)
  • Team Colours: Orange, Navy, Tan & White
  • Head Coach: Adam Forde
  • Captain: Scott Machado
  • Mascot: Joe Blake
  • NBL Championships: 0
  • Retired Numbers: 1 (8)

The Hawks

The Hawks (formerly the Illawarra Hawks) home venue is nicknamed “The Sandpit” and are the only club still in the NBL to have competed every single season since the competition was founded in 1979. The team has had over 10 head coaches over the years with Eric Cooks and Gordie McLeod the only ones to have both captained and coached the club.

  • City: Wollongong, New South Wales
  • Arena (Capacity): WIN Entertainment Centre (6,000)
  • Foundation Year: 1979
  • Club History: Illawarra Hawkes (1979-1998, 2015-2020); The Hawks (2020-present)
  • Team Colours: Red & White
  • Head Coach: Brian Goorjian
  • Captain: Andrew Ogilvy
  • Mascot: Tomma & Moe
  • NBL Championships: 1 (2001)
  • Retired Numbers: 5 (4, 5, 12, 32, 33)

Melbourne United

United were the only Victorian-based club in the NBL before the addition of the South East Melbourne Phoenix for the 2019/20 season. United’s home arena is referred to as “The Cage”. Along with the Adelaide 36ers and NZ Breakers they were the equal second most successful club with 4 Championships, second only to the Perth Wildcats, until scoring their fifth NBL Championship title and first as a rebranded club in the 2018 NBL Grand Final Series. They added to their record with a sixth victory defeating the Perth Wildcats in the 2020/21 season.

  • City: Melbourne, Victoria
  • Arena (Capacity): Melbourne Arena (10,500)
  • Foundation Year: 1984
  • Club History: Melbourne Tigers (1984-2014); Melbourne United (2014-present)
  • Team Colours: Navy Blue & White
  • Head Coach: Dean Vickerman
  • Captain: Chris Goulding
  • Mascot: Mr Baller
  • NBL Championships: 6 (1993, 1997, 2006, 2008, 2018, 2021)
  • Retired Numbers: 6 (6, 8, 10, 21, 25, 50)

New Zealand Breakers

The Breakers are the only non-Australian based club in the NBL. They are also the second youngest competing team having been founded in 2003. Their primary home venue Spark Arena is known as “The Breakerdome”. They might be a young club but already they have enjoyed 4 championship wins – most recently in 2015.

  • City: Auckland, New Zealand
  • Arenas (Capacity): Spark Arena (9,300); MyState Bank Arena (5000)
  • Foundation Year: 2003
  • Club History: New Zealand Breakers (2003-present)
  • Team Colours: Black, Light Blue & White
  • Head Coach: Dan Shamir
  • Captain: Thomas Abercrombie
  • Mascot: Cheeky the Kea
  • NBL Championships: 4 (2011, 2012, 2013, 2015)
  • Retired Numbers: 3 (23, 24, 32)

Perth Wildcats

The Wildcats are the most successful NBL club boasting a total of ten championship wins, their latest coming by default when they led the 2019-20 NBL Grand Final series 2-1 over the Sydney Kings who withdrew early due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They came close to an 11th success when runners-up to Melbourne United in the 2021-22 Final. Their home venue Perth Arena is known as “The Jungle” and their sister club is the Perth Lynx. They have appeared in all 35 NBL finals from 1987 – 2021 including 16 Grand Final appearances making them one of not only basketball’s but Australia’s most successful pro-sporting clubs.

  • City: Perth, Western Australia
  • Arena (Capacity): RAC Arena (14,800)
  • Foundation Year: 1982
  • Club History: Westate Wildcats (1982-83); Perth Wildcats (1984-present)
  • Team Colours: Red & Black
  • Head Coach:  Scott Morrison
  • Captain: Jesse Wagstaff
  • Mascot: Wilbur the Wildcat
  • NBL Championships: 10 (1990, 1992, 1995, 2000, 2010, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020)
  • Retired Numbers: 6 (6, 7, 14, 15, 21, 30)

South East Melbourne Phoenix

The South East Melbourne Phoenix are the second youngest club to join the NBL. Founded in 2018 they joined the league for the 2019/20 season. The Phoenix have three official home arenas as of 2021 with Melbourne Arena their largest with a capacity of 10,500 that they share with United. Simon Mitchell was the inaugural head coach of the ninth NBL franchise.

  • City: Melbourne, Victoria
  • Arenas (Capacity): Melbourne Arena (10,500); State Basketball Centre (3,200); Gippsland Regional Indoor Sports Stadium (3000)
  • Foundation Year: 2019
  • Club History: South East Melbourne Phoenix (2019 – present)
  • Team Colours: Dark Grey, Green, Ash Grey
  • Head Coach: Simon Mitchell
  • Captain: Kyle Adnam
  • Mascot: Birdman
  • NBL Championships: 0
  • Retired Numbers: 0

Sydney Kings

Sydney are a merger club created in 1988 when the West Sydney Westars and Sydney Supersonics became the Kings. They enjoyed three straight championships (2003, 2004, 2005) – the first in the NBL to win three consecutive titles. Their home venue is known as “The Kingdome”. They played the Perth Wildcats during the 2019-20 NBL Grand Final series but withdrew early due to the COVID-19 pandemic, losing 2-1 with the final two games cancelled. The Kings enjoyed their record-equalling 4th title victory in the 2021-22 Grand Final Series defeating the Tasmania JackJumpers 3-0.

  • City: Sydney, New South Wales
  • Arena (Capacity): Qudos Bank Arena (18,200)
  • Foundation Year: 1988
  • Club History: Sydney Kings (1988-2008; 2010-present)
  • Team Colours: Purple, Gold, White & Black
  • Head Coach:  Chase Buford
  • Captains: Shaun Bruce; Xavier Cooks
  • Mascot: The Lion
  • NBL Championships: 4 (2003, 2004, 2005, 2022)
  • Retired Numbers: 0

Tasmania JackJumpers

The Tasmania JackJumpers are the newest NBL team playing their first season in 2021/22. The club is named after the venomous Jack Jumper ants, found mainly on the Apple Isle. Tasmanian-formed Aussie rock band Luca Brasi created the team’s original theme song, Jackies Are On the March. They won their inaugural game in overtime defeating the Brisbane Bullets on December 3, 2021 and went all the way to the 2021-22 NBL Grand Final Series only to go down 3 – 0 to the Sydney Kings.

  • City: Hobart
  • Arenas (Capacity): MyState Bank Arena (5000); Silverdome (5000)
  • Foundation Year: 2020
  • First Season: 2021/22
  • Club History: Tasmania JackJumpers 2020–present
  • Team Colours: Burnham green, tropical rainforest green, yellow
  • Head Coach: Scott Roth
  • Captain: Clint Steindl
  • NBL Championships: 0
  • Retired Numbers: 0