The American sport has had major ups and downs within Tasmania since its 1946 inception - it went from a relative unknown 50 years ago, to one of the most popular sports with a televised State programme, two National Basketball League sides and five Australian Basketball Association sides.
It was one of the fastest-growing games in the country and when Launceston-based NBL side Casino City won a championship in 1981, it reached an unexpected popularity peak.
Tasmania was also home to the Tassie Devils, a Hobart-based NBL side that lasted from 1983-1996 without a huge impact on the ladder.
And then there was the WNBL team the Islanders, which joined the national competition in 1986, finished on top of the ladder in 1991 but crashed out in 1996 after three bottom-of-the-ladder finishes in four years.
Launceston has been home to a number of ABA teams - the Ocelots, the Tigers, and most prominently the Tornadoes, which won the conference and national title in 1995, taking local women's basketball to unprecedented heights.
Since then, support for the fast- running game seems to have decreased.
Junior numbers have hardly grown - there are just 400 more people playing the sport this year compared to 20 years ago.
When the Hobart-based mens NBL side Tassie Devils played in the early 1980s, then-president Wayne Monaghan had a $1 million budget.
Today, teams like the North- West Thunder survive on $130,000, which is mainly derived from sponsorship - $65,000 from cash sponsorship and $30,000 from in-kind sponsorship.
Ten years ago, crowds of up to 1000 would watch and support each regional team. Today clubs are lucky to get 200 paying spectators through the door.
Ahead of season 2003, there are just three regional teams representing Tasmania: the highly successful Tornadoes, the new-look North West Thunder and the Hobart Chargers, the current men's SEABL conference and national champions.
Launceston men's team, the Launceston Tigers, were forced to pull out of the competition at the end of last year after a continuing on-court struggle.
Lack of financial and public support killed the Tigers, according to former administrator Helen Polley.
Mrs Polley said the most recent board took over five years ago and were faced with a debt of $70,000.
While the Tigers made a profit on a yearly basis, it was not enough to pay back the debt and maintain enough growth to survive.
Having followed the team for 15 years as a supporter and administrator for the past five, Mrs Polley said the club had always struggled to find sponsors when it was not winning games on the court.
"We were always competitive on the court but we just couldn't crack a winning combo and finished down the bottom of the ladder," she said.
Basketball in Northern Tasmania needed to be reviewed if other clubs were going to be sustainable, she said, suggesting that junior and senior basketball clubs join with the Tornadoes.
"They all operate as seperate identities ... with different boards that do not gel," she said.
Despite minimal growth in the last 20 years, Basketball Tasmania general manager David Scott said the sport continued to grow in regional areas and schools, with one of the best development programmes in the country - Aurora Basketball In Schools.
Since 1982, when Basketball Tasmania began recording official statistics, male registration numbers have grown by 619, from 2423 to 3042, while female numbers have declined by 200 to 2649.
Mr Scott said cost made it difficult to maintain any team in an interstate competition like the SEABL, let alone two teams from each region.
"It would have always been nice to have three men's and three women's SEABL teams, but when you look at the demographics it was always going to be hard to maintain," he said.
"To play in the NBL was probably beyond ourselves - not feasible financially or resourcefully."
Mr Scott blamed the NBL for killing Tasmania's only Statewide competition, a live telecast of a knockout competition called ABC Topshot.
Basketball Tasmania life member and Devonport junior basketball commission chairman Warren Morris agreed, saying basketball would always loose to football and soccer when national games were not televised in Tasmania .
Morris began playing basketball when he was seven in 1949, when the sport first started on the North- West Coast.
Morris said he was disappointed to see the demise of the Tigers and Hurricanes but says a Statewide competition during the SEABL off- season would help keep young and talented players in the State.
"The problem in Tasmania though, like with the VFL Tassie team, is that we have players all over the State and getting them all together to train is the problem," he said.
"We had a junior Statewide competition in the '80s for a couple of seasons, but because junior sport is controlled by parents, they couldn't see the wisdom in it."
Basketball is an expensive sport at top level, says North-West Thunder administration and marketing manager and team manager Kim Robinson.
She said it cost about $130,000 to have a team in the SEABL.
The costs outline how tough it would have been for the Launceston Tigers to survive another season when crowds barely reached more than 100 and the major sponsor was also the coach.
Former Tigers coach Jeff Dunne was phenomenal, said Mrs Polley.
"He was committed beyond more than anything I've seen, he was very committed to the club," she said.
Aside from import players, who were paid a minimum of $15,000, all Tigers players were not paid to play.
To keep the North-West team on the court, players and coaching staff also took dramatic pay cuts.
Local players do not get paid, the coach, assistant coach and team manager share $1200 a season, compared to 10 years ago when a coach could easily be paid $10,000 a season.
"It was a decision we had to make for our survival and luckily the players wanted to see the project succeed and were willing to take a pay cut," Mrs Robinson said.
Local NWBU clubs help off-set the costs of the Thunder's two American import players, Jeremy Thompson, who plays with Somerset in the NWBU, and Mike Coleman, who plays with Latrobe.
Mrs Robinson said all SEABL teams paid a $45,000 equalisation fee to the competition organisers for airfares around the country and administration of the league.
Road trips were the biggest killer, with clubs footing the travel, food and accomodation bills.
Each Tasmanian club has two three-game trips at a cost of about $5000 and three two-day trips which cost $1700 each as well as one $1400 Tasmanian road trip.
Scoreboard operators and statisticians are paid a combined $1000, but most of that goes back into education and training of more volunteers, Mrs Robinson said.
Then there is stadium hire for training and games, which adds up to $5500, medical supplies which cost $1000, $2000 for programmes and $4000 for new uniforms.
They also have to pay a yearly Oceania licence fee of $400 to be allowed imports.
Cash and in-kind sponsorship makes up a big part of any clubs survival.
Mrs Robinson said for basketball to survive in the long term, it would take a lot of hard work and forward promotion.
"The Tasmanian teams need to support each other to ensure we are here for the long term," she said.
The Tornadoes are carrying the weight of Launceston on its shoulders this year, but with home-grown future WNBL star Hollie Grima signed up for this season and a bunch of dedicated sponsors on board, things are looking good for our short-term basketball future.