To hell with New York. To hell with Los Angeles. To hell with even Akron, Ohio.

The absolute centre of the basketball world is officially Melbourne as of today.

With Ben Simmons going to the Philadelphia 76ers at pick #1 in today’s NBA Draft, the Victorian capital has now produced 3 number one NBA Draft picks in the last 11 years. That’s more than any other city on the planet has been able to produce in that amount of time, and more number ones produced than any other city in the modern NBA era.

Simmons follows fellow Melbourne-born prodigies in Kyrie Irving (taken first overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2011 NBA Draft) and Andrew Bogut (selected by the Milwaukee Bucks first overall in the 2005 NBA Draft) in reaching the promised land in the world’s biggest and most popular basketball league.

In doing so, Melbourne overtakes both Chicago and Toronto, both of whom have produced 2 number one picks in the modern era: Derrick Rose and Anthony Davis for Chicago, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett for Toronto.

In fact, only Chicago has produced more number one picks ever. But you have to go all the way back to 1981 and Mark Aguirre, and then even further to 1972 and LaRue Martin for the Windy City to overtake Australia’s sporting capital.

That’s a huge accolade for Australian basketball, and an even bigger one for Melbourne as a city.


Photos: Mike Stobe, Ronald Martinez/Getty.