In a career that saw Bradtke burst on to the international stage as an 18-year-old at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, the 208cm star became a household name for the Boomers and in the NBL.
Bradtke represented Australia at four Olympic Games and two FIBA World Championships, claiming two Gaze Medals (International Player of the Year) in a national team career that spanned 14 years.
Emerging on the NBL stage with his hometown Adelaide 36ers it was evident that Bradtke had star potential early on, winning the 1989 NBL Most-Improved player.
Making the move to the Melbourne Tigers in 1992 proved a major turning point for Bradtke, winning 10 All-NBL First Team honours and the 2002 NBL Most Valuable Player award, becoming the most dominant big man in Australian basketball.
At the Tigers, Bradtke teamed up with Andrew Gaze and Lanard Copeland to help the club win their first NBL Championship in 1993, repeating the dose in 1997 after a one-season stint with the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA.
After 20 year playing career, Bradtke went out on top, helping the Brisbane Bullets win the 2007 NBL Championship in the final of his 554 NBL games.
Bradtke said to be mentioned in the same breath as Australian basketball’s greats was a truly humbling honour.
“It’s a great honour to place alongside all of those great players, coaches and administrators who have contributed so much to our game,” Bradtke said.
“I’ve been retired for about seven years now and when you look back, you think less about the game and more about the friends and bonds you made along the way.
“This night should be a great way to celebrate and reminisce with some of those people I’ve known through the years.”
A player renowned for his competitive spirit, Bradtke found the Olympics the ultimate test of a player on the biggest stage in sport.
“No matter what sport you play, you want to be at your best, playing against the best and that’s what the Olympic Games were all about,” Bradtke said.
“You can go in there thinking you’re ready, but then it hits you that you’re playing against the best players in the world, who are more athletic, can jump higher and run faster, you have to find a way to performance and that’s what I loved about Olympic competition.”
It was the words of legendary AFL coach Kevin Sheedy that fuelled Bradtke to push himself to achieve success with the Boomers and in the NBL during a meeting while he was at the Melbourne Tigers.
“Sheedy said make the most of every opportunity because next year the team is not going to be the same,” Bradtke said.
“People are going to move on, players are going to get sacked or recruited, or retire. Basically he was saying make the most of every season because it’s always different and will never be the same again.”
Andrew Gaze spent most of his career at the international stage and in the NBL playing alongside Bradtke, believing few could dominate the paint like the NBL’s all-time leading rebounder.
“For more than a decade he was the most dominant big man in the NBL and some would argue the most dominant big man of all time,” Gaze said.
“Not only was he able to do it at the NBL level, but also by playing with the Australian Boomers at four Olympic Games as well as his time spent overseas and in the NBA, he demonstrated he was able to play at the highest level.
“For myself, it was an absolute privilege to play alongside one of the all-time greats of the game.”
Basketball Australia Chief Executive Officer Kristina Keneally congratulated Bradtke on his induction into the 2013 class of the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame.
“After a playing career that saw four Olympic Games, more than 500 NBL games and a stint in the NBA, it is only fitting that Mark join the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame,” Ms Keneally said.
“Mark was thrust on to the international stage at just 18 years of age for the Boomers at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and from there became a key piece of the team that would reach the bronze medal game in 1988, 1996 and 2000.
“His NBL career stands out as one of an all-time great, retiring in 2007 as the leading rebounder in NBL history to go with three championships, 10 All-NBL First Team honours and the 2002 NBL MVP.
“We congratulate Mark on his prestigious honour and look forward to welcoming him into the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame.”
Background Information – Mark Bradtke
• Represented Australia at four Olympic Games (Seoul 1988, Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000)
• Represented Australia at two World Championships (1990, 1994)
• Played 189 games for the Australian Boomers between 1987-2000
• 2-time Gaze Medallist for Australian Boomers International Player of the Year (1992, 1999)
• Played 554 NBL games between 1988 and 2007 with the Adelaide 36ers, Melbourne Tigers and Brisbane Bullets
• 3-time NBL Championship winner (1993, 1997 – Melbourne Tigers 2007 – Brisbane Bullets)
• NBL Most Valuable Player (2002)
• 10-time All-NBL First Team (1994, 1996-97, 1999-2004)
• NBL Most-Improved Player (1989)
• 6,238 career rebounds – 1st all-time in NBL history
• 763 career blocks – 3rd all-time in NBL history
• 9,621 career points
• Named in the NBL 20th Anniversary Team (1998)
• Named in the NBL 25th Anniversary Team (2003)
• Played in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1996-97 season