A passion for bringing people together on the basketball court
What better way is there to end a stressful week than basketball every Friday in Docklands, complete with pizza, music and good vibes?
Forty-year-old Joey Mausar has played basketball at a professional level for many years. He now focuses on sharing his great passion for the game with others by bringing people together for regular social games – a tradition which began in Docklands during Melbourne’s COVID lockdowns in 2021 with a simple Instagram post.
Every night after work during the pandemic, Mr Mausar drove past the basketball courts on Harbour Esplanade and stopped to shoot some hoops.
“I was there shooting for myself every night after work, but it used to be completely dead,” he told Docklands News.
One day he got tired of the court always being empty and after talking to his childhood friend Pauli with whom he played professional basketball all his life, he posted a photo on social media.
“I wrote that we are going to play here on Friday and there will be music and lighting,” he said.
When Joey woke up in the morning, he was shocked by the response he had received: “I had never received so many messages. There were so many people interested.”
The following Friday when it came time to play, he said at least 50 people showed up.
“We were completely shocked; we really didn't expect it!” he said. “That is my best memory of Fridays.”
Since then, they play every Friday, unless it rains. He said that more and more people showed up every time, with plenty of new faces each week.
“We treat each other with respect and love each other. Even if we don't know someone, we become friends immediately after talking for a few minutes,” Mr Mausar said.
They usually play for around three hours. However, when the game is over, the fun continues with pizza and a few beers.
“It's a good way to get away from everything else serious and stressful in life,” he said, adding that some who often attended were 18- to 20-year-olds who were escaping challenging living situations at home.
“It’s a good environment for them to get away from whatever they are dealing with. Some of them live in poverty and don’t have much at home,” he said.
Joey Mausar himself has played with the Altona Gators in the Big V League at the professional level for many years.
“I love basketball more than anything else. It is my passion in life. If I can share it with others who also have the same passion, why wouldn't I?”
Mr Mausar has already been organising basketball in Prahran on Sundays for the past 11 years where around 100 people gather every week.
You can join Joey and others to play basketball at the courts at 8 Waterview Walk in Docklands every Friday from 6pm to 9pm, or every Sunday in Prahran from 2pm to 6pm, at 288 Malvern Rd, Prahran.
For more information and updates, follow Joe on Instagram.