Michele Timms OAM is Australia’s historic first internationally-acclaimed basketball superstar, woman or man, a pioneer as the initial ’baller from Down Under to ply her trade as a professional on the courts of Europe, then the WNBA.
Since returning from a 6 year stint in China, Timms has turned her sights on developing Future Opals and Boomers players by starting her own Basketball Academy- which has always been a lifelong dream.
Boomers: Across 285 WNBL games with Bulleen Boomers (now Melbourne Boomers), Nunawading Spectres, Perth Lynx and Sydney Flames, the livewire Melbourne-born point guard won five WNBL championships and was a WNBL All Star Five selection seven times.
Opal: As an Opal, she represented Australia in 264 international matches embracing three Olympics (Seoul 1988, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000) and four FIBA World Championships (1986-90-94-98), twice (1994 and 1996) named Women’s International Player of the Year.
International: In 1989, “Timmsy” – as she affectionately is known – blazed a trail into Europe as the first Australian (male or female) to play professional basketball internationally when she joined the Lotus München club in Germany.
WNBA: When the WNBA launched in 1997 in the US as the women’s equivalent of the NBA, Timms was the first Australian signed, joining Phoenix Mercury for the league’s historic tip-off. Her #7 Mercury singlet not only outsold her NBA Phoenix Suns equivalent Kevin Johnson – and also his superstar teammate Charles Barkley – but ultimately was retired by the franchise in 2002, only the second number retired by the WNBA.
Medals: Timms was instrumental in Australia’s transition from an emerging presence on the world scene to an international powerhouse and medal dais regular. In 1988, Australia reached the bronze medal match at Seoul, in 1996 it won a bronze in Atlanta and in 2000, under her captaincy, the Opals won silver in Sydney. Renowned worldwide for her ability to swish 3-point baskets, her courageous drives to the hoop and uncanny ability to score or dish to an open teammate, her legacy is recognised in Victoria where annually since 2005, the WNBL derby between Melbourne Boomers and Dandenong Rangers carries with it the honour of claiming the Michele Timms Cup.
Retirement: After her retirement as a player in 2001, Timms’ ability to teach and impart her wealth of knowledge was utilised by South Dragons’ NBL program, before she returned to the USA where she was an assistant coach with her former WNBA club, Phoenix Mercury. As an assistant coach for China’s national women’s team, Timms attended Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 and Rio in 2016. In between, Timms was appointed as an assistant coach of the Australian Opals and was an assistant coach with Bulleen Boomers when the club won the WNBL championship in 2011.
Hall of Fame: She was inducted into Basketball Australia’s Hall of Fame in 2003, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tennessee in 2008 and into the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2016. Basketball Australia elevated Timms to “Legend” status in its Hall of Fame, Timms made a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2018 Australia Day Honours “for significant service to basketball as a competitor at the national and international level, as an Olympic athlete, and as a mentor for women in sport.”