Close this search box.

The momentum to fire up a Canberra Cannons NBL return


NBL owner Larry Kestelman has ignited discussions about bringing the Canberra Cannons back into the NBL.

There’s momentum for the nation’s capital to follow Tasmania’s lead and rejoin Australia’s National Basketball League. 

The Canberra Cannons played in the inaugural NBL season in 1979 but folded in 2003.

The Cannons played at the ‘Palace’ – the AIS Arena – and some big names pulled on the singlet, including CJ Bruton, Herb McEachin and Phil Smyth.

Canberra already has the world renowned NBA Global Academy, which has produced rising Australian stars Josh Giddey and Dyson Daniels.

According to reports, the NBL is looking to strike a deal for further AIS Arena upgrades, while well-placed basketball officials will meet government members to discuss the possibility of a Canberra team re-joining the league.


The NBL has experienced rapid growth in recent years with the recent introduction of the South East Melbourne Phoenix, plus of course Tasmania joining this season.

The success of the Phoenix and JackJumpers has proved that expansion in the NBL can work and on the back of the Boomers’ Tokyo Olympics success, basketball fandom continues growing.

NBL boss Larry Kestelman said what the JackJumpers have achieved could be a benchmark for Canberra.

“What we have done in Tasmania could be a blueprint for Canberra,” Kestelman told the media.

“There have been meetings, but we need the federal government to deal with the (territory) government on it.”

There is enough local support for basketball in Canberra. The UC Capitals are a WNBL force, providing a key pathway for young talent.

With no men’s team, other clubs in the competition have seized on the opportunity to expand their fanbase in the nation’s capital.

In recent years, the Illawarra Hawks have been testing the waters in Canberra and took a game to the ACT in 2019.

It makes a lot of sense to bring more than just the odd NBL game to Canberra.

Picture of Joel Martelli
Joel Martelli
The only thing that Joel Martelli loves more than football (seriously, we wouldn't be surprised if he has a Wollongong Wolves tattoo) is writing about all things sports. With a Bachelor of Communications and Media Studies Degree specialising in Journalism, he spends his days uncovering breaking athlete news stories and diving deep into play-by-play strategies. We're glad that he's put his passion to the pages of Only Sports as one of our dedicated sports writers.

Latest Stories

Best State of Origin jerseys
We've selected and ranked the 10 best State of Origin jerseys of all time
2024 T20 World Cup ultimate guide: Can Australia reclaim the title?
Sport events 2024 calendar australia
Your Ultimate Guide to every unmissable sporting event for 2024, updated
Best sports autobiographies
How many have you done? Here are the 10 best sports autobiographies ever written

Related Articles