Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Coaching slam dunk for former national basketballer at age 86

It has been 62 years since Ross Graham represented Australia on the basketball court at the 1960 Rome Olympic qualifiers, and he’s found himself courtside once again to help some Sydney seniors shoot for the stars.

Canterbury-Bankstown’s walking basketball team was recently invited to play an exhibition game at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup at Qudos Bank Arena, and Ross, who was unable to get on the court himself, used his expertise to coach the team from the sidelines.

The team, comprising of 14 players, put on an impressive show with their 30-minute long match in the ‘fan zone’ and attracted a crowd of enthusiastic basketball fans.

The 86-year-old Panania local, who was inducted into the Basketball NSW Hall of Fame in 2015, said he’s incredibly proud of how far the team has come since starting up two years ago.

Ross Graham in his early playing days.

“Only three players had played basketball before… the others had never played, so I’ve been teaching them a bit about basketball,” Ross said.

But what’s stood out for Ross, are the tight knit friendships he’s made through coaching the team.

“It’s a bit of fun and after our games we go back to the Bankstown Trotting Club for coffee and a chat.”

Canterbury-Bankstown Mayor, Khal Asfour said the Walking Basketball team was established after the first round of COVID lockdowns to tackle social isolation in seniors.

“It’s fantastic to see our local seniors making friends, challenging themselves by learning a new sport and committing themselves to a healthier lifestyle.”

“And they’ve gone on to become quite the basketball stars, doing our City proud at the world cup.

“Everyone was impressed by their skills, and they even had some youngsters jump on the court and join in.”

The Active Seniors Walking Basketball team meet once a week during the school term at Bankstown Basketball Stadium. Anyone over the age of 55 is welcome, no matter their level of skill or experience.

For more information and to register, call Council’s Active Ageing Officer on 9707 9000.

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