GREECE—Greek children coiled in horror as 7-foot giant, Wade Helliwell, wandered the streets of Thessaloniki this evening. Authorities say it was the scariest Halloween costume even seen in the northern Greek city.

"His face was grotesque," 8-year-old Spiros Papadopolous told reporters. "I thought that one of the Gods -- probably that slut Aphrodite -- must have had an affair with Frankenstein to produce a monstrous gigantic bastard-child."
WOLLONGONG—Gordie McLeod was yesterday awarded the 2009/10 NBL coach of the year as he guided his Wollongong Hawks to their 5th win of the season, five more than most pundits expected when the Hawks team was first assembled.

With less talent at his disposal than the under 12s Keon Park Hornets, this astonishing overachievement guarantees McLeod the award ahead of his main rival, Brian Goorjian, who is currently on hiatus.
Sean Lampley taunts Glen Saville
MELBOURNE—With the Melbourne Tigers contemplating the re-inclusion of Sean Lampley in their lineup to cover the loss of Ben Knight, the Tigers seem prepared to recruit yet another component of the All-NBL Most Hated 1st team. With Anstey locked in at centre on the Most Hated team for the rest of his career and Worthington’s Most Hated stocks rising rapidly at power forward, the Tigers already have two of the most hated players in the league. Lampley, universally renowned as a complete tosser, would automatically take the small forward position on the All-NBL Most Hated 1st team.

Not since Chris Anstey has there been a more widely despised player than Sean Lampley. Lampley’s antics in the 2008 Grand Final series against the Sydney Kings raised the ire of Sydney fans, flaming anti-Tigers sentiment around the league. "Lampley's behaviour in the Brisbane semifinal series and his gestures to the Sydney crowd in the Grand Final series were that of an A-grade wanker," said Professor Thomas Yardly of the School of Psychology, Psychiatry and Psychological Medicine at Monash University. "Apart from Clinton, he's the only person to ever score a perfect ten on my newly devised 'wanker scale'."

Lampley's choice of playing number, number 1, is no coincidence, says FIBA Board member Yalou Canfi. "Traditionally, it's not been allowed to use the number 1 in domestic leagues, but we decided to allow it to highlight to the refs who is likely to be the biggest dickhead on the court. Turns out there's an even bigger correlation than counting tattoos."

The recruit is likely to make the Tigers clear favourites to take out the most hated team in the league award. "The Sydney Kings are long gone now. We need a new universally despised team," Tigers co-owner Seamus McPeake confided to our source. "After already recruiting myself as part owner, Westover as our coach, Anstey as our centre, and Worthington as our power forward, who’d be the best recruit to make us even more hated around the league? The answer is even more obvious than our past salary cap transgressions."

With starting shooting-guard Kendall the subject of a substantial amount of online hatred, particularly during his Kings years when he managed to make every Boomers team regardless of his form, the addition of Lampley would make the Tigers just one piece away from assembling the All-NBL Most Hated 1st team as their starting five. "We only now need the most hated point guard," McPeake commented. "I wonder if I can entice Shane Heal out of retirement."
Refugee children eagerly await the arrival of NBL players
BALI—Initially introduced as an effort to rid the National Basketball League of unwanted superfluous flab on players, Basketball Australia has now abandoned the controversial ‘Pacific solution’, which involved the trans-Pacific movement of players in order to achieve ‘Pacific shrink’.

‘Pacific shrink’ is a well-documented phenomenon whereby American imports arrive in Australia substantially smaller than their records in the United States indicate. The implication is that basketball players experience physical shrinking as they travel over the Pacific Ocean. In one case in 2005, American import David Bailey was listed by his American agent as a 6’4” guard, but arrived in Australia looking more like a body-double for ’80s TV star Webster.

Numerous trials have been conducted to assess the effectiveness of using Pacific shrink as a slimming technique -- mostly by Rick Burton on regular trips to visit his family in the United States -- but there has been no convincing evidence of success to date.

"We’ve sent [Pero Cameron] heaps of times over the Pacific, but we haven’t noticed any ‘Pacific shrink’ at all," a Gold Coast Blaze employee revealed on the condition of anonymity. "So as my first task for the Blaze I said to my boss Dave Claxton, ‘I, Scotty McGregor, will take on this task scientifimically’. So I put on my white lab coat, went with Pero to Las Vegas and back a few times, and then compared his weight using the NBL website. But his weight has stayed at 120kg for the past four years!"

"I presume the NBL keeps these records up to date," the source added.

If anything, the improved quality of airline meals seems to be doing the opposite. "He’s now looking forward to his trans-Pacific voyages, as do I," the source admitted. "He likes the food, I like the hookers. They're better than Brisvegas."

The 'Indonesia solution'

To act as a substitute for the failed ‘Pacific solution’, Basketball Australia this week proposed the ‘Indonesia solution’. The ‘Indonesia solution’ again puts the onus on foreign parties to deal with a local issue by placing the overweight players in a detention facility in Indonesia.

Under the proposal, overweight NBL players will be fed a strict diet of Mi Goreng noodles, must endure physical challenges such as removing fallen objects from their shanty houses as a result of earthquakes, and will be forced into regular exercise by physically struggling to swim through the regular tsunamis.

"I know we said this when we changed season from winter to summer, and also when we introduced the points cap, but this is one hell of a silver bullet of a solution," an NBL spokesman said at the press conference held at the luxurious Balinese Four Seasons hotel. "Those boat people are always skinny and undernourished. If that kind of diet works for those pesky freeloaders, surely it has to work for NBL players."

The plan doesn't just address a political issue for the NBL who desperately need to be seen to be doing something productive. The league is also exploring the opportunity to raise an income by documenting the players' stuggles in an overcrowded detention centre. "This is like The Biggest Loser meets Survivor, but this time for real. If Fox8 can broadcaster tripe like 'The Contender', surely they'll cover this. Fox might actually pay the league for broadcast rights this time."

"Indonesia is an unknown for Australian audiences, apart from Bali. This represents an opportunity for Aussies to learn something about the country." When informed about the 1400 death toll from an earthquake earlier this month, the spokesman shruggled. "See? Show me just one other person who knew about that."

However, this alternative approach to deal with the issue of spiralling BMIs has not been supported by the NBL Players Association, with some within the Association describing this as yet another example of the “oppressive NBL regime”.

"The NBL has undergone many recent changes to the detriment of the players," a Players Association spokesman told Basketball Australia media manager Marc Howard at the press conference. "First we needed to sacrifice our wildly excessive salaries, then we needed to endure school clinics, and now this," he added before taking another sip of his Goddess Elixir Margarita cocktail.

"This kind of oppression will surely make the fatties in the league feel like refugees.

"We aren’t refugees! It shouldn’t be okay to oppress us!

"It’s fine to discriminate on the basis of race or nationality, but not BMI."
Obama campaign poster (left), new BA poster (right)
SYDNEY—Following the press conference last week to announce no change, Basketball Australia Chief Executive Larry Sengstock has made yet another insignificant announcement: a new Basketball Australia propaganda poster.

"After conducting extensive stakeholder engagement and comprehensive commercial analysis, our review committee, thinking outside the box, has concluded that a proactive ‘change neutral’ approach is required to maximise the NBL’s exposure and potential revenue in order to achieve mission critical outcomes for the forthcoming ‘next generation’ national league," Sengstock told the press conference.

"With customer-focused vertical secured lines, enterprise-wide dynamic productivity, and our focused actuating task-force, the league is in a prime position to develop optimal mandatory bottom-line budgetary management, decentralized 4th generation inheritance, and a customer-focused didactic toolset."

The new poster bears a remarkable resemblance to a campaign poster used by US President Barack Obama. Venturing off his buzz-phrase loaded script, Sengstock conceded there were similarities. "It may appear to be a rip-off, but Obama recently won yet another award for this compelling piece of propaganda," Sengstock noted. "The award, of course, was the President of the United States of America."

"I'm all for change, but not if it's so difficult. That's why I take a proactively 'change neutral' approach to leadership," Sengstock added, marking the tenth time he had used his new buzz-phrase during the first five minutes of the press conference.

"Doing nothing, or as I have coined it, 'change neutrality', represents a paradigm shift in modern administration: it's like change, but safer and easier."

"Nonetheless, we (Basketball Australia) are still achieving things. The club owners can't deny that," Sengstock asserted, clenching his Seamus McPeake-shaped stress ball.

When asked if an image of Sengstock on a poster purported to promote Basketball Australia was shameless self-promotion, Sengstock appeared agitated, throwing the spherical stress ball towards the bin, only to airball it. "If Rick Burton can put his signature on the game ball, why can't I put my face on this new Basketball Australia poster?"
Clinton plans new league working from his Mum's basement
NEWCASTLE—Master of ceremonies, disk jockey, basketball historian and NBL entertainment guru Clinton Canidae is in the early preparations of launching a rival national basketball league. "It's no coincidence that the dip in the league popularity is in line with the loss of a professional team in the Newcastle region. There is no true national league without us," Clinton declared. "Basketball needs Newcastle, but Newcastle needs this as well. Guys like Hurley are struggling to find work. Butch Hayes has resorted to drastic age reversing plastic surgery to get an import gig with the Hawks."

"Dr J has made it hard. It's been difficult to find work after basketball. People just don't believe that I'm a real doctor," explained Newcastle basketball legend Adrian Hurley. "Then they start asking about Darren Ng like I know the guy."

Hurley stopped short of throwing his full support behind Clinton, but indicated he'd do anything required to help basketball in Newcastle and put food on the table.

It's rumoured that Shaun Dennis has been forced to look for work in New Zealand. "New Zealand!!" Clinton exclaimed shaking his head with astonishment. "How can a national league expect to prosper without these Newcastle stalwarts?"

Clinton isn't alone, though. He's building a formidable team around his ostentatious plan. "NBL fans have lost faith in these NBL has-beens. Sengstock and Harmison have had their chance. I'll be bringing in my own people. I've worked with some great people in
the NBL, but we need fresh blood. Jay Foxx is my right hand man who I first met on the inside, of, the Criterion Hotel. I'm really throwing everything behind this bid. My music has made me millions but realistically it's just a hobby. It just puts food on the table, basketball is my passion. I'll pour every cent I have into this if need be. We're in it for the long haul, Foxx is my life long partner, in, business."

While it's clear that the NBL does need change, attention to detail is a necessity. "Look, these guys don't even know what number Grant Kruger wore. Without all the pertinent information, how are they going to make the really important decisions?"
Obama against evergreen Blaze DP, Kieran Woods
GOLD COAST--The leader of the free world woke up to some more surprising news this morning after being named as the week 4 NBL Player of the Week. In his address to a largely AFL knowledgeable media contingent Obama said, "I am both surprised and deeply humbled by this award. I will accept this award as a call to action. A call for all fans to get behind the league in it's challenges to become a legitimate sporting league in this country". Surely averaging a near triple double in his first three games as the Blaze new import, he led his team to a 0-2 record this week. The former California Bear Guard has added some scoring swagger to the Blaze backcourt since his arrival.

"Many basketball supporters still haven't picked up on the start of the season, let alone the signing of the first NBL import with presidential credentials," explained NBL reporter Matt McQuade. "Although the voting must have been close, I do favour giving this weeks award to Obama to really spark an interest in the League".

It couldn't come at a better time for the Blaze who are in negotiation with another major sponsor, this time with a major law firm specialising in liquidation law. "We don't want to disclose too much in these early stages," an anonymous club source has disclosed. "The firm seems to be a good fit for the NBL market right now. I'll steal a Sengstockism here and say that we are very hopeful. Very very hopeful."

Also in strong consideration was Nelson Mandela who played a strong role in ending his team's 27 year stay as the league cellar dwellers. His next goal is to establish a quota for black athletes in the NBL, bucking the apartheid trend set by the Melbourne Tigers. Mandela's actions may force the Tigers hand into picking up a US import, and the NBL have indicated an African American will get a concession in the NBL Player Points Cap.

Russell Hinder was also a POTW candidate with 16 blocks in his stellar defensive performance against Adelaide. In another surprise, a single POTW vote was lodged for Daniel Joyce, and officials are trying to determine who may have lodged such a vote using a form appearing to be from last season. It seems that the voting form letterhead was somehow modified to reflect the new name of the revamped league.
Larry Davidson shows off his Mohawk
SYDNEY—With this year’s Movember season fast approaching, Wollongong Hawks forward Larry Davidson has made a bold statement to the competition during yesterday’s press conference held by Basketball Australia, initially intended to announce a decision regarding a change of season.

Davidson made a spectacular appearance late in the press conference, frantically running into the room from a Wollongong Hawks minibus. Davidson’s appearance came exactly one hour and fifteen minutes after the small media contingent vocalised their disapproval of being lured to a press conference for the announcement of essentially nothing -- Basketball Australia's "no change of season" announcement.

Sitting besides a visibly relieved Sengstock, Davidson declared that he will "win Movember" by committing himself to produce the best set of mos in the league, starting with the fresh Mohawk that he recently unveiled.

Under Movember rules, the growth of the moustache must start in November. However, Davidson stated that he is able to bring out another form of Mo’, the Mohawk, before the commencement of Movember since it is not explicitly banned in the rules. "I’m merely exploiting a loophole since there are technically no such restrictions determining when a Mohawk can be grown," Davidson said.

"It’s a definite loophole," Melbourne Tigers co-owner Seamus McPeake confirmed via phone link. "I was aware of that loophole when I helped write the rules for Movember. I gave my team the heads-up about it last month so we could also exploit it."

McPeake was disappointed that his team was not the first to benefit from the loophole, as is usually the case, but added, "why create it if you aren't going to use it?"

Anticipating fierce competition among the players, Davidson made his intentions clear with an ominous warning to his competition. "This wicked Mohawk is just the beginning," Davidson told the reporter. "I’m for real about Movember this year. This aint Mocktober. I’m taking this seriously."

"I’m gonna be even more committed than during the last novelty hair-growth event that I participated in, ‘Gandalf month’," Davidson told our source.

"Okay, ‘Gandalf month’ turned out to be just a practical joke created by my teammates," Davidson conceded, "but my teammates all agreed that I totally won it. I even shouted “you shall not pass!” on defense. That's how committed I can be with these things."

Davidson was, however, bewildered when asked if there should be more events such as this to raise awareness for mens' health issues. "What’s mens' health got to do with any of this?"
Davidson during 'Gandalf' month
MELBOURNE--After the unexpected controversy surrounding his appearance on the Hey Hey Reunion Special, Harry Connick Jnr. was expecting a relaxed night in front of the television to sample some Australian-flavoured hoops action in his hotel room. But he was shocked to see yet another racially insensitive image on his TV screen.

"I can't believe it!" Connick said, exasperated. "There was some guy on the New Zealand team -- CJ somethin' -- who was apparently tryin' to mock black Americans by dressing up like a golliwog.  I heard him interviewed and he's got an Australian accent, but tryin' real hard to sound like a black American.

"He's trying to impersonate a black American -- the golliwog wig, the attempted accent, and he probably has a painted black face, too.

"After a successful 3 point basket he did this exaggerated hands-in-the-air routine, again tryin' to mock the buffoonery of black Americans.

"To top it off, he top-scored with 32 points, again reinforcing the stereotype that black people are better at basketball than everyone else. Sorry, I don't mean to bring things down, but I find that racist and offensive."

Radio talkback switchboards again lighted up with this new wave of controversy. "Mr. Bruton is obviously a racist.  He is ignorant to not know about American culture in a historical sense like that," a caller on a talkback radio show said. "You can't put your hair up in a golliwog style like that and think it's alright.   This is the 21st century, Mr. Bruton! This lack of historical knowledge of black-white America race relations clearly suggests that Australia is backwards and racist."

"Every culture in the world should be aware of the historically racist connotations that exist with blackfaces and golliwog wigs," another caller commented.  "If they don't, clearly they need to watch much more American TV to learn that these kind of things are taboo in American culture, and therefore should be taboo everywhere else."

Asked how they will know that it is taboo, the caller said, "They'll know [it's taboo] because painted face routines are conspicuously absent in the States.  Unless you watch White Chicks or Tropic Thunder -- but they were okay because they were moderately funny with more professional makeup."

"Everyone ought to be offended by this CJ's golliwog impersonation," another caller said.
"This CJ ought to know better!  Apparently he has an American father. Doesn't even his father know anything about black American history, apart from, of course, the black tradition of naming your son after yourself?"
TOWNSVILLE--With the increasing prospect of a secure position for Russell Hinder in the National Basketball League 2009/10 season, Townsville pub owner Bill Rowes has been forced to advertise an ongoing bartending position that had been reserved for the 208cm Townsville Crocodile.

"Russ has got a young family and a mortgage," Rowes commented. "I read about it several times when the Pirates went down and then again when the Kings folded. Then again on 4 Corners when he talked about his only alternative profession: bartending." 

Without being paid to be an excessively tall freak that puts leather balls in holes, what else could an intelligent and well spoken bloke like Russ do? Without basketball as an income stream, it was basically bartending or a homeless family. I really felt for the bloke."

Soon after reading about Hinder's plight when the Sydney Kings folded, Rowes was on the phone to Hinder's agent to discuss his employment prospects in Townsville. "So when I heard about his troubles in 2008 after the collapse of the Kings, I rang his agent and told him not to worry -- there was a position waiting for him here in Townsville... as a bartender.  I even flew him up to Townsville to check out my venue. Turns out those bastard Crocs were also interested and beat my offer."

Rowes held onto the hope that the NBL would not run in 2009/10, but he has had to concede that it will go ahead with a Townsville team including Hinder on the roster. "Hinder would've been a great addition to our frontcourt staff. Plus, big blokes are really useful because it saves me employing extra security staff to help remove the riffraff," Rowes later admitted. "You got to remember this is Townsville -- most of them are riffraff."

The next best bartending prospect is understood to be Bazza McGee, an infamous local methhead.