Throwback Thursday: Bluffton grad Ballinger goes from basketball star to artist in Australia

Local Sports

BLUFFTON, Ind. (WANE) – The journey of a professional athlete can be hard to predict, and for Adam Ballinger it’s taken him from the relatively small town of Bluffton to Australia, where he’s known for both his athleticism and his artwork.

As a senior at Bluffton in 1998, the six-foot-nine Ballinger dominated the competition on the Highlight Zone. He earned All-American Honorable Mention, received votes for Indiana Mr. Basketball, and made the Indiana All-Star team.

He then made his way north to East Lansing to play at Michigan State. Ballinger redshirted his first year on campus with a leg injury, but as a redshirt freshman he helped the Spartans to the 2000 NCAA title game, as Tom Izzo’s club beat Florida in Indianapolis 89-76 in the title game.

As a junior, Ballinger was named third-team All-Big Ten by the media, averaging 11.2 points and 6.8 rebounds for the Spartans.

Following his senior season Ballinger headed overseas to play in Australia, where he played from 2003 to 2015. He was named either second or third team All-NBL (National Basketball League) five times in Australia.

After retiring from playing, Ballinger has pursued a career in art. His area of emphasis is drawing athletes from the 1980s and 90s. You can see his work on

Ballinger still lives in Australia with his wife Bianca and their three children. Bianca is Australian and Ballinger became an Australian citizen in 2009.

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