NBL: United sets popularity ball rolling with Ballarat camp

MELBOURNE United star Mark Worthington admits his club might have lost fans when it changed its name from the Melbourne Tigers, but insists it will help in the long term.

And the best place to start building the new brand, according to Worthington, is with community camps such as the one in Ballarat this week.

In addition to a civic reception in Ballarat on Wednesday, the Titans held a ‘hoops’ clinic at the Minerdome with dozens of junior basketballers.

Back in Ballarat for the first time since representing Australia at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, Worthington said there was little option for his club but to ditch the historical Melbourne Tigers branding; arguably the most famous in Australia.

“It was a change that needed to happen. There was a misconception from a lot of parents that they wouldn’t let their kids support the Melbourne Tigers when their kids played against the Melbourne Tigers juniors,” he said.

Melbourne United also announced on Wednesday it had signed another Australian representative in Daniel Kickert, with whom Worthington shared a room at the 2006 world championships.

“He’s been a fantastic player that has been playing overseas for so long, so for him to come back and play in front of his home crowd is great,” Worthington said.

“He is a massive signing that I’m sure every club would have loved to get.”

Melbourne United will play its first practice game under the United banner at the MARS Minerdome on Friday night against last season’s NBL grand finalist, Adelaide 36ers.

Melbourne United player Mark Worthington holds the ball aloft at a kids’ clinic yesterday at the Minderdome as Lachlan McPhan, 7, soars to reach it. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE

Melbourne United player Mark Worthington holds the ball aloft at a kids’ clinic yesterday at the Minderdome as Lachlan McPhan, 7, soars to reach it. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE

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