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Mark Bradtke : biography

27 September 1968 -

Mark Robert Bradtke (born 27 September 1968 in Adelaide, South Australia) is a retired Australian professional basketball player who played mainly in Australia's National Basketball League but also had a single stint in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1996-97. As well as his outstanding play, Bradtke was known in the early part of his NBL career for his mullet haircut.

NBL career stats

Games: 554 (Adl 118, Melb 377, Bris 59)
Rebounds: 6,283 (4,279 def, 2,004 off - 1st All-time - 11.3pg)
Points: 9,621 (17.3pg)
Blocked Shots: 763 (3rd All-time, 1.3pg)

Honour roll

NBL career: 1988–2007
NBL Grand Final appearances: 4 (1993, 1996, 1997, 2006–07)
NBL Championships: 3 (1993, 1997, 2006–07)
NBL Most Valuable Player: 2002
All-NBL First Team: 10 (1994, 1996, 1997, 1999–2004)
NBL Most Improved Player: 1989
NBL 20th Anniversary Team: 1998
NBL 25th Anniversary Team: 2003
NBL Leading Rebounder 7 (1994, 1999-2004)

Australian career

Adelaide 36ers

Bradtke was born in the southern Adelaide suburb of Noarlunga and began playing basketball in 1985 while attending Redcliffe State High School north of Brisbane in Queensland. His potential was quickly realised and he was awarded a scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport where he attended in 1986 and 1987.

Mark Bradtke started his NBL career with the Adelaide 36ers in 1988. That same year saw Bradtke a member of the Australian Boomers team at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul helping the team to finish fourth with a 4-4 record. At the time Bradtke was the youngest player ever having represented Australia in Basketball at the Summer Olympics. His star continued to rise in the NBL and in 1989 was named the NBL's Most Improved Player. After playing back up centre to 36ers team captain Bill Jones in 1988 and sharing the centre role with new recruit Orlando Phillips in 1989, Bradtke made the centre position his own in 1990, averaging 17.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game over 24 games.

He would spend another two seasons with the 36ers before asking the club to release him so he could sign with the Melbourne Tigers who had actively been trying to recruit the Adelaide centre. The 36ers tried to convince him to stay but eventually granted his release so that he could be with his girlfriend and future wife, Australian professional tennis player Nicole Provis who lived in Melbourne. During his last two seasons in Adelaide, Bradtke would lead the 36ers in blocked shots and despite playing only 17 games in 1992 was second in total rebounds for the 36ers to Mark Davis. In all, Bradtke played 118 games for the 36ers, including 9 finals games, averaging 15.4 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.

Melbourne Tigers

Bradtke started with the Tigers in 1993 and after a slow start came on strong from mid-season helping the team to their fifth NBL playoffs in a row and their second grand final series in succession. Melbourne won their first ever NBL Championship with a 2-1 series win over the Perth Wildcats which included their first ever win at the Perth Entertainment Centre in the third and deciding game. He averaged 17 points, 12.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game in 33 games played in 1993. Combining with star players Andrew Gaze (a fellow Boomer) and American import Lanard Copeland, Bradtke's arrival helped transform the Tigers from a pretenders to a genuine championship team. The team would win their second NBL title in 1997 when they defeated cross-Melbourne rivals the South East Melbourne Magic 2-1 in the Grand Final, reversing the result from the 1996 series.

While with the 36ers that Mark Bradtke established himself as one of the premier centres in the NBL and following the Tigers 1993 championship, the then twice Olympic representative was regarded as the best centre in the league. Bradtke's form with the Tigers continued over the next nine seasons before finally receiving the ultimate individual accolade by being crowned the 2001-02 NBL Most Valuable Player. He was also voted to the All NBL First Team in 1994, 1996, 1997 and consecutively from 1999–2004 and was also selected to the NBL 20th Anniversary Team in 1998 and the NBL 25th Anniversary Team in 2003.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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