Why am I a Tigers fan? It all started around 1992 when I was six and Victoria was a pretty sad place, the state was running out of money, Government lacked purpose, Victorian football was under siege and the only great thing going for the state was Basketball, we had the SE Melbourne Magic, Melbourne Tigers, North Melbourne Giants and Geelong Supercats all going for NBL glory and that year it was the Magic who won the grand prize.
But while I was interested in Big M I wasn’t into the Magic, I wasn’t interested being a Giant or a Supercat, I wanted to be a Melbourne Tiger because something about the Tigers looked so good, they were fit, strong and tall and I felt that I could follow them anywhere and a year later a great thing happened, The Tigers stole the title from Perth on their home turf when Vlahov’s shot did everything but go in the net and Andrew Gaze was fouled moments later which enabled him to score to make sure Perth couldn’t beat them, Melbourne and the state of Victoria were back and you couldn’t avoid the NBL for it was everywhere, I loved shopping at K Mart and I loved drinking Australia’s Choice and I can still remember that whistled tune in the ads while jerseys with numbers #6, #8, #10, #21, #25 and #50 were being worn everywhere.
More glory followed as the Magic, Tigers and Giants all won titles and it was sweet when the Tigers won their second then suddenly everything went downhill, The Supercats were booted, The Giants and Magic were merged only to go for good within a few short years and then the media started to pay less attention and soon the days of finding NBL information easily were replaced by small columns in the paper and the Tigers were fighting to stay around as the financial crisis hit them too but they managed to hang on.
The 2000’s started slowly but when the Gaze era came to an end their replacements stood up and it was high time once again for the Tigers, two titles and a couple of runner ups in the last half of the decade put the team back into public focus and a team called South Dragons came and threatened the Tigers by default reign as top of Victorian Basketball but soon after the Dragons took a title from us the league was on life support and the Dragons went and the Tigers almost did too but decided to stay in the NBL.
Basketball Australia took over and slowly Basketball was more accessible which was good for me because I was sick of scratching around for news ever since Mr Groves crashed the Brisbane Bullets taking away Brisbane’s excuse to majorly cover the NBL in the local papers apart from the small print of the scores and maybe the odd success by the Crocs and Taipans.
I read with horror later on when the team owner overstepped his boundaries and sacked our equally most successful coach and a prized import although prized is often debated it is true that imports are held in high regard, I relaxed when the owner sold up and two new owners came in and then in 2013/14 Chris Goulding started racking up scores that reminded people of the performances of Andrew Gaze as attention was once again on Basketball and then we finally made the finals again and I thought going into 2014 that the Tigers were on a roll forward again but on May 19 2014 I was shocked to read rumours that the Tigers would be gone the next day, I thought the Tigers were going to be one of the consistent facts of life just like Births, Deaths and Taxes but two people and their staff didn’t believe so and thousands of people including myself had no Tigers to follow in the NBL.
Now I am homeless in the NBL but I believe it won’t be for long, I won’t be a Baller (United) and while I like what the Wildcats do I won’t be watching them forever for I have the belief the Tigers will make the long road back to the NBL, the name will be ours, the history will be ours and the hunt for a fifth title will start again.
Why are you a Tigers fan?