Until now there had only been one "Red Army" in the National Basketball League.
That term had previously been reserved for the fanatical fans of the Perth Wildcats who have been known collectively across Australia as the Red Army for wearing the club's colours and their unwavering support of their beloved Cats.
Well, the Illawarra Hawks will have their own red army when the Perth Wildcats enter the WIN Entertainment Centre for game two of the best of three semi-final series.
A group of Hawks sponsors have come together to ensure every Hawks fan in attendance at the game will get a free red t-shirt as part of the club's 'All In Illawarra' finals campaign.
The concept was the brainchild of former Hawks staffer Joel Armstrong, with the campaign designed to reflect the 'All In' mentality the club has shown across the COVID-impacted NBL season.
The Illawarra Hawks Principal Partner Pepper Money, City Motors Group, Multi Civil and Rail (MCR), Peoplecare, RIG, i-induct, Venues NSW and DKM Blue all jumped on board the campaign making a series of donations to ensure the first 4500 fans who attend Saturday's game will get a free custom made 'All In Illawarra' t-shirt.
Hawks co-owner and president Dorry Kordahi said the slogan reflects the region's togetherness and he praised the selflessness of the club's valued corporate partners.
"Our corporate family has shown once again how much they truly care about this team and the Illawarra community. As soon as we made an approach to get them all involved, they couldn't wait to show their support and show the Illawarra community they are 'all in' in our title push," he said.
"We want to fill the WIN Entertainment Centre and deliver our guys a home court advantage against the defending champions. The building will be covered in red shirts and we hope to create a hostile, but respectful environment for our opponents. These type of opportunities don't come around very often and we hope the Illawarra community gets around this team on their quest for another NBL championship."
'All In Illawarra' campaign creator Joel Armstrong said he jumped at the opportunity to get involved with the Hawks again.
"I was off work sick when I got a call about coming up with a campaign for the NBL Finals," he said.
"I was watching the NBA Playoffs and noticed Dallas were using 'ALL IN', so I sent through a bunch of ideas and didn't think much of it until later in the week when Dorry reached out to see if I could design a graphic to go on a t-shirt."
Armstrong was named Hawks club person of the year in 2009-10 and has ridden the highs and lows of the club for more than 20 years.
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