Melbourne Tigers Big Three Reunite: Mark Bradtke Shares Stories on the Boomers and Allen Iverson

When Lebron James made his decision to take his “talents to South Beach” in 2010, it made waves in the NBA. As he joined Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, Lebron launched the NBA ‘superteam’ era. During Lebron’s four years in Miami, the trio went on to play off for four straight NBA Championships and ended up winning two. Long before this big three was formed, there was actually another big three. Not in the NBA, but down under in the NBL.

The Melbourne Tigers had their own big three in the 90s - Andrew Gaze, Lanard Copeland and Mark Bradtke. The trio was at their peak with the Melbourne Tigers across 1992-1997. Across these 6 years, they made the NBL Grand Final four times and won the championship in 1993 and 1997. All three are now NBL Hall of Famers. 

23 years after their last championship together, the NBL big three reunited on The Alley-Oop Show. Their chemistry continues off the court, with the former teammates discussing Bradtke’s career from first starting to play basketball to his experience playing alongside a young Allen Iverson in the NBA. Here is are some interesting takeaways from the conversation:

On His First Time Playing Basketball:

“I watched the 1984 Olympics and I had never seen basketball. I thought this sport looks pretty good, I will give it a try.” Bradtke went on to make the Australian Olympic team in 1988.

On his rebounding:

“I wanted to get 16 rebounds a game. That was always my goal. If you break it down into small increments it is a pretty easy challenge. I enjoyed the physical side of things. I like mind games and intimidating people.

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On Playing With a Young Allen Iverson:

“There wasn’t a veteran leader on the team that could try and show him the way. He was a young kid who was getting a lot of money and a lot of power - he was just trying to find his boundaries.”

On His Experience Playing With His Arch-Rivals On The Australian Basketball Team:

“I used to hate the South East Melbourne Magic with a passion. John Dorge and Tony Ronaldson biggest pains you will ever meet. They were my roommates the whole time. Once they are your teammates, the best people going around.”

On His Mentality When Playing For The Australian Basketball Team:

“On the coat of arms, there are two animals a kangaroo and an emu. They are the only two animals in the world that don’t walk backwards. So we don’t take a backwards step.”

To listen to the full interview, check out the latest episode of the Alley-Oop Show. In this third episode of the show, Gaze and Copeland also dissect all the goings on in the lead-up to the new NBA season, off-season signings in the NBL and LeBron James' rookie card.

Listen to The Alley-Oop Show wherever you listen to podcasts, watch on YouTube and IGTV, and check out the show notes and more at

July 27, 2020




Shay Namdarian


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