Sonya Ottaway (centre) with Australian Consul General Chris DeCure, players Jo O’Key and Simone Kessell and commentator Ian Thorpe.
Sonya Ottaway (centre) with Australian Consul General Chris DeCure, players Jo O’Key and Simone Kessell and commentator Ian Thorpe. Supplied

Ambassador sells netball

FOR former Rockhampton netballer Sonya Ottaway it is still all about living the dream.

Midway through the year Ottaway told The Morning Bulletin during a visit to her home town, of her plans to promote the sport of netball in the United States of America.

In that interview Ottaway explained that she was one of a group of people who had helped form Netball America and described some of the ideas for growing the sport in the States.

One of those plans was to play an exhibition match at Staples Center, Los Angeles.

Ottaway, who lives in California and not far from Hollywood, assisted in getting the top players from around America on court for a demonstration match.

The game was staged as a curtain-raiser to a women’s NBA game and therefore the stadium was packed with about 14,000 supporters cheering the two teams on.

Ottaway was on court and played goal attack.

Quite a difference to playing on the outdoor courts of Jardine Park during a Central Queensland winter.

The event proved to be a big success.

Big names come out to see and be seen on such occasions with actress Halle Berry and former basketball superstar Magic Johnson among those appearing courtside.

Ottaway reports the big names were not just in the crowd.

In the commentary team for the match was Ian Thorpe, Australia’s superstar of the

swimming pool and winner of Olympic gold, English netball ace Stacey Francis and actor Greg Collins, who has the TV series True Blood to his recent credits.

If having a massive crowd of 14,000 people was not enough, the experiment of playing a demonstration game as a curtain-raiser to a basketball match will be taken to new heights early in the new year.

Plans are already under way for another demonstration game at Staples Center, this time as part of the lead-up for the NBA match between the Los Angeles Clippers and the New York Knicks.

For that game the anticipated attendance is 17,000, while interest has also been shown for a game at Madison Square Garden, again prior to a women’s national basketball match, where 14,000 fans are expected.



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