Tribute to the Perth Entertainment Centre

Posted by Andrew on the 30th of October, 2011

(A proposal for a public sculpture for the site of the old Perth Entertainment Centre)

Step one: Load both videos below.
Step two: Mute Video 1
Step three: Play both videos simultaneously
Step four: make video 1 full screen
Step five: imagine each air dancer as a monument to one of the starting five players from the 1990s Perth Wildcats NBL championship team.



From the NBL website":

"... Over the next three seasons a ticket to a Wildcats home game became the hottest property in town. At the end of 1989 the Superdrome was bursting with fans every game and the people of Perth demanded a bigger venue to support their local team.

The most exciting chapter in Wildcats history came in 1990 as prominent West Australian businessman Kerry Stokes purchased the club and decided to raise the team's profile to incredible heights; by moving the home court to the iconic Perth Entertainment Centre.

The new 8000 seat venue was an instant masterstroke as Perth continued its affection for the club and flocked to every game.

That also saw the introduction of a player that is regularly referred to as the Wildcats' greatest, Ricky 'Amazing' Grace.

In 1990, Wildcats head coach Cal Bruton famously described Grace's talents by stating 'he could steal hubcaps off a moving car'.

The Perth Entertainment Centre was the stage for countless memories created by the Perth Wildcats, beginning in 1990 when the team entered the NBL finals' series as underdogs in fifth position.

The team swept past the Melbourne Tigers and North Melbourne Giants to again face the Brisbane Bullets in their second Grand Final appearance.

With the memory of defeat still fresh for many players that were a part of the 1987 Grand Final loss to the Bullets, the Perth Wildcats stood poised to ready to fight to the end.

Tens of thousands of people across Western Australia tuned into the live coverage to watch the Wildcats triumph 112-106 in Game 1 in front of a sold out Perth Entertainment Centre.

However the challenge of winning the series became more difficult after losing Game 2 in Brisbane 106-90 and having to return as underdogs to the Brisbane Entertainment Centre a few days later for the deciding game.

It took an inspired effort from the Perth Wildcats to be victorious 109-86 and bring home the first ever Championship to Perth.

There were breathtaking scenes of jubilation from West Australians at the airport upon the team's arrival, and during the parade through the city. It was a proud moment for the club and for the people of Perth.

Head coach Cal Bruton lost his voice over the 1990 Finals series from a combination of passionate coaching and media engagements, but was able to give an emotional tribute to three people.

They were his mother Anne, Scott Fenton (a Wildcats player tragically killed in a car accident during the previous season) and Gordon Ellis (inaugural Wildcats coach and father of current captain Mike Ellis who passed away in 1987).

Mike Ellis described the 1990 squad as the benchmark in the NBL whereby other coaches tried to put together teams capable of beating the Wildcats.

"We won't give up easily because we want to create a dynasty in Perth," he said after the Grand Final win.

Few people would have imagined that 1991 could surpass the expectations made in 1990.

James Crawford said after the 1990 win that, "The pressure to bring a title to Perth is now off and I think we will benefit from that. We're looking forward to defending the title, it's going to be hard, but I see it as an honour, not a burden..."

Image by Matt Hayden