The Sal's NBL is going through a resurgence with growing crowds, a vastly increased presence on television and online, along with a notable rise in media coverage across New Zealand and into Australia.
League GM Justin Nelson believes the centre-point of the competition's rise is a firm focus by everyone involved to ensure the fans come first.
"Over the opening five rounds of the Sal's NBL the players have put on a great show, the basketball talent on display has been exceptional, but above all for me it has been the interaction between players and fans immediately after games that is striking a real connection with the community," said Nelson.
The League has adopted a mantra this season of ensuring the home team to stay on court after every game to meet their fans for autographs and photos, the results of which have been there for all to see as budding young players in particular rush courtside after the final buzzer to meet the stars of the game.
"All credit to the teams and players, they are driving this and doing everything possible to ensure the fans can get incredible access, it sets the NBL apart from so many things on offer out there.
"The teams and players are really taking on board their role in being leaders in the community and from my position I love seeing that sort of behaviour. Every NBL player once had stars in their eyes and idols they looked up to, so to see them now helping today's youngsters to dream big is what makes this League so much fun to be in right now.
"Young people need role models that they can connect with. There is no better feeling as a fan than being given an opportunity to meet your hero. That's what we aim to do after every single game in the Sal's NBL," added Nelson.
And Nelson believes word is spreading about the initiative resulting in the League attracting so many new faces to games.
"I'm not sure there are too many other sports out there inviting the fans onto the playing arena to meet the stars of the show straight after the contest has finished. It's our point of difference. Basketball is hugely popular in schools and out in the community and this connection with elite players is helping to drive future growth."
Sal's NBL Round 6 Games
Thursday Night Lights - Nelson Giants vs Hawke's Bay Hawks - 7:35pm live on SKY TV and Prime TV.
Friday - Canterbury Rams vs Southland Sharks - 7pm - live on SKY Pop-Up, Stuff, Pick and Roll, TribeSports App
Saturday - Wellington Saints vs Supercity Rangers - 7pm
Saturday - Southern Huskies vs Nelson Giants - 7pm (AUS) / 9pm (NZ) - live on Stuff, Pick and Roll, TribeSports App
Sunday - Manawatu Jets vs Hawke's Bay Hawks - 3pm
Sunday - Taranaki Mountainairs vs Supercity Rangers - 3pm
Sunday - Southland Sharks vs Wellington Saints - 7pm - live on SKY TV Pop-Up, Stuff, Pick and Roll, TribeSports App