How good are the Cairns Taipans?
Forget coronavirus, youth crime and council elections for just a moment - the Taipans are the headline news we need right now.
CQUniversity Associate Vice Chancellor Jodie Duignan-George said the club has had an "inspiring" impact on the community.
"Whether or not the CQUniversity Cairns Taipans achieve the ultimate success this season, the impact of this season will never be forgotten," she said.
And the stats off the court show the community agrees, in a big way. More tickets were sold to Taipans games than state capital city rivals Brisbane, while more than 500 people have already signed up for 2020/21 membership tickets for next season.
(FYI you can grab early bird discounts on your season passes here before March 31!)
Ms Duignan-George told Tropic Now the Taipans were a shining light of positivity and leadership.
"All through the city's recent period of challenges, we have watched our team achieve remarkable success," she said. "They have inspired us in so many ways and provided a timely reminder of what great leadership looks like.
"Coming from the bottom of the ladder last year, they have shown that collaborative leadership (from Management, the Board and the Player Group) and great team work can lead to amazing things. There are no big egos in this team, just a group of individuals who support and play for each other, their club, and their home city each week.
"They are engaged with their local community and do such amazing things off the court as well as on. Beside the positive impact on the psyche of our community, the Taipans success, in the context of the national league, helps to put Cairns up in the national spotlight.
"I heard one of the NBL commentators the other night describing our team using the analogy 'the little engine that could'. Their unexpected success has captured the imaginations of basketball communities across the nation, and what it promotes is that a small city like Cairns can bounce back from just about anything, in a quite spectacular way."