Perry Crosswhite (or ‘Rocky’ as a generation of basketball fans came to know him) brought his talents to Australia from America in 1969. He immediately became a star with the Melbourne Tigers in the Victorian Basketball Association, then the strongest club competition in the land. Within two years he was married to a local Comet’s player, Jan Steel, and became a naturalised citizen. He was then selected to play for the Boomers at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
From 1972 to 1980 Crosswhite would play at the highest levels for his adopted country. A natural leader, Crosswhite captained the Boomers at the 1976 Montreal and 1980 Moscow Games as well as at the 1974 World Championships held in Puerto Rico. He would end up playing over 300 games for Australia during a decade in which the standard of Australian Basketball started to gain significant respect around the world.
Perry was a key member of four Victorian teams which ended up as National Champions. He won the Alan Hughes Medal in 1971 as the most outstanding Victorian player at that year’s Australian Championships held in Mackay, Queensland. He also led the Melbourne Tigers into epic encounters against powerful teams from Clubs like St Kilda, Coburg and West Adelaide at the Australian Club Championships. At the inaugural 1973 National Invitational Club Championships in Melbourne he top scored in the final with 31 points leading the Tigers to victory.
Upon retirement Crosswhite made the transition into sporting administration, where he filled senior positions within the Victorian Government, the Australian Sports Commission, the Australian Olympic Committee and the Australian Commonwealth Games Association.
One of Crosswhite’s major achievements as an administrator was to have basketball included as a sport at both the 2006 and 2018 Commonwealth Games. He was Australian Team Manager for the 1998 Kuala Lumpur, 2002 Manchester, 2006 Melbourne and 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.
Perry’s playing ability was recognised in 1990 when he was inducted as an inaugural member in the Victorian “Wall of Fame”. He was subsequently inducted as an Associate Member in the Sport Australia Hall of Fames in 2007, and in the same year received an AM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Perry (Rocky) Crosswhite now joins basketball’s elite: being enshrined as a Player in the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame.