The National Basketball League is back for another season and there's added reason for Melbourne fans to be excited.
With a labour dispute threatening to postpone or even cancel the NBA season in America, players from the world's premier basketball competition have looked elsewhere for places to ply their trade.
One of those players is Australia's own Patty Mills, who would have once again been suiting up for the Portland Trailblazers but has instead returned to play for the Melbourne Tigers in a major fillip for our national league.
The exciting point guard is one of several new additions to the Tigers' roster, with former Cairns Taipans imports Ayinde Ubaka and Ron Dorsey joining the club, and last season's Coach of the Year from Townsville, Trevor Gleeson, signing on to call the shots from the sidelines.
Melbourne is looking to return to the playoffs after a couple of disappointing seasons and is one of eight Aussie clubs seeking to bring the championship back to Australian soil after last year's title was won by the league's only overseas-based franchise, the New Zealand Breakers.
The Breakers are in town on Saturday October 22, 2011 and Sunday January 8, 2012 in two highlights of the Tigers' home schedule that can be found here.
A night at the hoops is always a fun night with not just the game but also music, cheerleaders and competitions for fans, while the Tigers' home venue, the State Netball Hockey Centre, is an intimate venue where spectators are close to the action.
So if you're looking for some sport during the AFL off-season and want to see Patty Mills play in the NBL, tickets for single games can be booked through Ticketmaster.