The Ivanhoe Knights Basketball Club can trace its origins back to the late 1970s.
As the winter of 1977 drew to a close, a group of local boys who had just enjoyed a season of hockey began to look for a summer sport. The parent of one of them, Graeme Gibbons, suggested basketball to a bunch of eager nine-year-olds. Graeme entered and coached the new team in the Eastern District Junior Basketball Association (EDJBA) U10 competition.
They got off to a slow start: 83 points for the season, compared to 519 for their opponents and finished in last position on the ladder. In less than ten years, in 1985, Graeme and four of his original team members won the U17A reserve premiership, collecting a number of flags along the way.
It didn’t take long for word to spread around Ivanhoe East Primary School. The Club was nomadic in those days, but with increasing interest and the need to develop an identity, it took over management of the Rosanna East High School centre as a home venue.
By 1983 the Club was fielding eleven teams. The small group of parents who devoted enormous amounts of time to promoting the idea of a game and a club which would develop children’s skills and enjoyment within a community environment also dreamed of a centre close to home which would encourage those aims.
The Ivanhoe East Special Purpose and Creative Education (SPACE) Centre was opened by the Premier, The Hon. John Cain at Ivanhoe East Primary School in 1983. The Ivanhoe East Junior Basketball Club became its first tenant.
With a ‘home ground’ advantage, the club expanded quickly. By the start of 1990, the club was fielding almost 50 teams from the ages of 6 to 18 and all standards from A grade to D grade.
Soon, it expanded into venues at the then Ivanhoe Boys Grammar School and Ivanhoe Girls Grammar School.
In 1999, the Club welcomed a merger with the smaller Fairfield Basketball Club.
In November 2011, the club voted at the AGM to change its name from the ‘Ivanhoe East Basketball Club” to the ‘Ivanhoe Knights Basketball Club’, to better reflect the demographic and branding of the club.
December 2011 saw the closure of the basketball stadium at Banksia Secondary College by the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. The stadium contained two courts used extensively by the club for mid-week team training and matches.
In 2016 the Club negotiated a collaboration with the Banyule Giants to form the Ivanhoe Darebin Basketball Association. The new body provided an improved pathway for members of both clubs who wanted to take their basketball to the next level and play representative basketball. It also included capacity for adult competitions.
Today, the Club provides sporting activity for a great many children, and is also an avenue for leadership opportunities for young people, many of whom referee and coach teams. In this way, the community spirit of one individual has developed into a major community organisation within the Ivanhoe and broader north-eastern metropolitan area.