Foul Play: Nine things we learned about ‘Tiny’ Pinder and the Perth Wildcats in The West Australian’s doco

The West Australian
VideoFive-part docuseries investigates Wildcats star Tiny Pinder, with rare insight into one of the NBLs most mysterious and dominating basketballers of the nineties. Rated M: Mature Themes

The five-part docuseries investigating Wildcats star Tiny Pinder, Foul Play, reveals many explosive details you may not have known about the club or its disgraced former star.

Here are some of the revelations.

1. The Wildcats have a rap song.

Recorded in 1989 the song, titled On the Prowl, is just about everything you would expect it to be.

It was the perfect mix of catchy 80s riff and cheesy lyrics - not to mention the awkward dancing in the accompanying music video.

Wildcats 1987 recruits Tiny Pinder, James Jackson, Steve Davis, James Crawford, Dan Hickert and Coach Cal Bruton.
Camera IconWildcats 1987 recruits Tiny Pinder, James Jackson, Steve Davis, James Crawford, Dan Hickert and Coach Cal Bruton. Credit: Unknown/WA News

Their 10 championships aside, it’s one of the club’s most brilliant achievements!

2. The Wildcats were one of the first sports teams to tour the new Parliament House after its opening in 1998.

Former TV sports presenter David Christinson said the team were in Canberra to play against the Gunners at the time.

They were invited to tour the new Parliament House, shortly after its opening for the bicentenary, and have a cup of coffee with the then Senator Peter Cook.

3. Pinder was first arrested in a locker room, mid-game.

It was Saturday night on October 6, 1990 and the Wildcats were in a tight match against the Giants at the Perth Entertainment Centre.

When the team poured into their locker room at half-time they found two detectives inside waiting to arrest Pinder.

Tiny Pinder in action.
Camera IconTiny Pinder in action. Credit: Unknown/WA News

The team somehow managed to persuade police to let him play the other half and he went on to win the game with 20 points and 14 rebounds.

4. The red army was not always red.

The Cats once wore yellow and black.

In 1982, the team was known as the Westate Wildcats, and donned the State colours of Western Australia.

As basketball popularity grew, in 1984 for the team was renamed the Perth Wildcats, launching the iconic red brand we know today.

5. Pinder has 12 children.

Yes, Tiny Pinder has enough children to form his own basketball team!

Among them is Keanu Pinder, who paved his own way to a successful career in the NBL. Keanu currently plays for the Cairns Taipans.

Cameron and Keanu Pinder.
Camera IconCameron and Keanu Pinder. Credit: supplied/TheWest

His half-brother, Camerson Venditti, was also once asked to try out for the Australian Institute of Sport and the national team. But on the eve of those try-outs a knee injury, his second one in a short amount of time, stopped him from playing further professionally.

Cameron Venditti with his dad, Tiny Pinder and brother Keanu.
Camera IconCameron Venditti with his dad, Tiny Pinder and brother Keanu. Credit: supplied/TheWest

6. Why was Cal Bruton called the black pearl?

Bruton said he had always worn a black pearl around his neck, which was a gift from Broome.

But the veteran basketballer likes to joke the nickname stuck because of his bald head “shining under the lights” of the basketball court.

Cal Bruton.
Camera IconCal Bruton. Credit: Unknown/Seven West Media

“I’m very proud to be the black Pearl of Australian basketball,” Bruton told The West Australian.

“I think that suits my personality and also suits my style.”

7. Pinder’s criminal record has spanned for more than 45 years.

He committed his first sexual crime against a teenage girl when he was 19 in Florida, United States.

Tiny Pinder leaves the Supreme Court.
Camera IconTiny Pinder leaves the Supreme Court. Credit: Unknown/WA News

The following year he was convicted of unlawful carnal knowledge and was put on five years probation.

Today, Pinder is in jail in NSW, awaiting trial for fresh sexual assault charges.

8. Pinder was recruited to the Illawarra Hawks months after being released from prison in Perth.

The Wildcats and Townsville Suns had both rejected Pinder’s offer of his services when he came out of jail in 1994.

At the age of 38, it appeared unlikely he would feature again in the NBL. But he was picked up by the Illawarra Hawks when he moved to Sydney the same year.

Former Wildcats coach Alan Black, who had been coaching the Hawks at the time, gave Pinder a second chance.

9. The first owner of the Wildcats was warned about Pinder’s sexual misconduct before police even laid charges.

Bob Williams was in his St Georges Terrace office, when a father marched in to tell him Pinder had “interfered” with his teenage daughter.

Coach Alan Black for the Perth Wildcats.
Camera IconCoach Alan Black for the Perth Wildcats. Credit: Rob Duncan/WA News

Williams made the shocking revelation during Part 3 of The West Australian’s documentary series Foul Play.

“At that stage, I didn’t think they’d press charges,” he said.

“We bought Tiny in and I said I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt, but ... you’re on probation. If this happens again or anything of that nature, that’s going to bring disrepute to this organisation ... you’re out.”

FOUL PLAY: THE TINY PINDER STORY follows the success of the Perth Wildcats in the 80s and 90s, and investigates star player Tiny Pinder. Watch the documentary 5-part series exclusively at thewest.com.au

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