Abby Cubillo leading the way
The Larrakia woman, and first player born and raised in the Northern Territory to play in the WNBL, is passionate about being a visible role model for Indigenous women and girls involved in all facets of the game.
“Having resources and visibility connects the grassroots to higher levels and then gives people a visual of what it’s like to be able to go through a pathway to get to say where I am now and further on to where I want to be,” she says.
“Visibility from grassroots all the way up to elite level shows a pathway if you want to take it or jump from one stone to somewhere else, there’s ways to create the path you want to take.”
The 23-year-old treasures special connections with her home club in Darwin and the communities she’s immersed herself in in Brisbane and Canberra playing in NBL1 and WNBL respectively.
“I’ve got little nieces who have grown up in the family club there and the culture is so strong within the club and Darwin Basketball. Every time I go home I get to watch them play, I get to see them and they get to so me. There’s a connection there and that’s really important to me,” Cubillo explains.
“I recently ran a camp with Brisbane Basketball and it was awesome meeting all these little kids who I hadn’t met before and some older girls who are on the pathway to state teams. It was awesome to get to learn about those girls and their culture, the land they come from.
“It’s about celebrating talent and celebrating culture and it was really special.”
Cubillo is a mentor for the Australian Basketball Players Assocaition’s National Emerging Leaders Program in collaboration with Indigenous Basketball Australia and described it as an amazing experience.
“(NBL star) Scott Machado and I were both mentors for a 16-year-old girl in Darwin which was so incredible and I had no idea I’d be paired with someone else from Darwin.
“To be able to share my experiences with her and I felt like I really understood where she was at because I was really in that position seven or eight years ago. She spoke about how sometimes at nationals it was a bit tough and I knew exactly that feeling.
“Just sharing my pathway that got me to where I am, if that helped or impacted her in any way that’s a win for me.”