Bryan’s lifelong passion for basketball honoured
Bryan Robins’ passion for basketball has been immortalised with a life membership from the Grafton Basketball Association.
“I’ve been involved with basketball for over 50 years and to think, it all started off at school in Sydney when we’d play at lunchtime,” he said.
“We didn’t even have a school team; it was up to us to get a few mates together and join the Bankstown competition as absolute rookies.”
Since that time, the game has remained with Mr Robins’ even throughout his career as a State Emergency Service officer which saw him regularly transferred across NSW.
“I played basketball everywhere I went and if there was no comp, I’d start one. At one stage I was the president of the Bourke Basketball Club because there wasn’t one,” he laughed.
“I came to Grafton in 1982 and, in less than a week I was hooked up with the Imperial Basketball team after bumping into a chap at Coles supermarket. I played for them for nearly 40 years, even when they changed from the Imperial Hotel to the Village Green Hotel in 1990. I’ve loved every minute of it.”
Mr Robins refers to the 1980s as the Clarence Valley’s golden era of basketball.
“They were great days with fantastic teammates,” he said.
“The best player I ever played with or against was Brad Davidson. Brad went on to play for the Australian Olympic team, the Boomers. Another great basketballer and terrific guy was Terry Johnson who went on to play NBL.
“But my favourite player of all time in Grafton was Sid Nowlan. Sid was one of those country blokes who had incredible talent. He was an absolutely wonderful basketballer; an all rounder both on the court and in the bar.”
Mr Robins revealed that friendships and memorable stories were born both on and off the court.
“After a Monday night game, we’d get about 15 to 20 blokes back at the Imperial Hotel and it’d become our Saturday night,” he laughed.
“We’d also had the Imperial Gift sprint races at 10pm at night, starting from the old railway station in Pound St to finishing on the corner of Turf St outside the pub. They used to pay me out on the court for being (allegedly) so slow … but I was undefeated in all of the races … I was the champion of the Imperial Gift!”