Live Better

On the ball: Melbourne United’s Kyle Adnam

Pro basketballer Kyle Adnam on hard work, eating well and making time to hit the surf.

Pro basketballer Kyle Adnam for Melbourne United. Photography by Mel Sudero

How did you get started playing basketball?

The first team I played for was my primary school team. I already loved basketball – my whole family including my uncles, cousins and my older brother all played, so I started playing when I was about 5 years old. Then I competed with my brother out in the backyard every day after that. I started domestic under 8’s basketball almost at the same time.  

My junior pathway was through Kilsyth basketball. I played rep ball and some Victorian Youth Championships there, and U23’s league when I was 17 and 18, and then I was picked up as development player to go to Adelaide. From there I was picked up by Wollongong as a development player for a year and then finally returned home to Melbourne after that.

What do you love most about the game?

I really enjoy the team side of it and how fast the game is played. Basketball is a really non-stop game – there’s a lot of action going on, and that athleticism and quickness is something I’m really drawn to.

It’s also a game typically people my size don’t excel in, so I think it’s a really cool thing to be able to defy the odds every night.

Who are some people who inspire you – professionally or personally?

Personally, I’d say my mum. Early in our lives she raised us boys almost by herself before my stepdad came along and helped. Those two inspire me to make them proud and give back to all the Friday nights they were driving me around. They drive me to be at my best.

Professionally, I drew inspiration from watching Steve Nash as a kid. He was my favourite player of all time. I was really drawn to the way he played the game. He was a similar size to me now, and he won two NBA MVPs. He inspired me to play a certain style and I think that’s really benefited me.


“Basketball is a really non-stop game – there’s a lot of action going on, and that athleticism and quickness is something I’m really drawn to.”

How do you approach healthy eating?

For me personally, I’m trying to put on weight constantly, so a lot of my approach is just eating consistently and eating good things consistently. Lisa Middleton, our dietitian, has done a really good job of helping me with when I should be eating my protein snacks or high carb snacks around training.

How do you balance the demands of training and the rest of your life?

Basketball takes up a big chunk of my life, but I wouldn’t change that. It’s what I want to be doing and I love that side of my life. Mostly I just try to take a few hours a day doing some things that aren’t to do with work.

I love getting to the beach and surfing. I’m constantly in the water, especially in the off season. I also enjoy just going for a kick of the footy with my mates at the park. I try to get out and have a balance so that when I come in Monday morning I am really 100% ready to practice. 

What advice would you give to younger players starting out?

I think that number one, you’ve really got to enjoy it. And if you want to take it to an elite level, you’ve really got to enjoy working hard. There are a lot of people who play basketball and then there’s a 10% group who work really hard and they’re the ones who make it to the top.

Also remember that everyone is different, and we don’t all need to try to be Steph Curry or LeBron James. They’re already taken and have their own identity, so you’ve got to find an enjoyable way to play that’s right for you and stick to that.

See Kyle Adnam take part in the upcoming 2017/18 NBL season with Melbourne United

Photography: Mel Sudero

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