Basketball is a big deal at Wollongong burger bar His Boy Elroy.
There's a basketball ring in the restaurant, a big screen for games, wall-to-wall Illawarra Hawks memorabilia and a beer paying homage to the team's local heritage.
Which is why, when he heard the news that the Illawarra Hawks would be dropping the region from their name, owners Lachlan Stevens knew he had to speak up.
As the new owners of the Hawks made their announcement on Wednesday, Mr Stevens took to social media to express his disappointment and indicate that he would look to put his sponsorship and support elsewhere.
"[It's] disappointing to hear the Illawarra Hawks have dropped the word "Illawarra" from the franchise with a long proud history in the region" he said.
"Although it may seem trivial, for His Boy Elroy, it was this history that drew us to partnering with the club. Broadly speaking, the only remaining foundation club represented the strength in community, a value we held close to our hearts.
"Although we will always support players and fans in the future we will rather opt to support grassroots basketball in the Illawarra."
While his specially developed Snakepit Lager will remain on tap at the bar, Mr Stevens said he would look to support the Wollongong Rollerhawks, as well as teams like the Illawarra Stingrays football club in the future.
He believes his disappointment will be shared by fans and sponsors throughout the region.
"I wouldn't have posted what I've posted if I didn't think it would resonate with our customer base," he said.
"I think we have have our finger on the pulse of what Illawarra fans think because we're so closely connected to basketball and this community."
"I hoped that the local bid [from Tory Lavalle and LaMelo Ball] would be successful, and I'm not privy to the details but from the outside this suggests that the NBL didn't give due consideration to the needs of the Illawarra community."
"I've read that the owner says they will support the Illawarra community, but we will wait for action before we rely on those words."
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