Although rugby is considered the national sport of New Zealand, the Kiwis are also equally totally in love with basketball. In fact, basketball has a long history in New Zealand. With the game played in the country for the first time in the country in 1908, New Zealand is definitely one of the first nations on earth to adopt the game.
From its introduction in Wellington in 1908 to national leagues in the 1980s and the outstanding national team, excellent performances in the 1990s, basketball in New Zealand has produced an array of stars and celebrity basketballers. Here are some of the most famous and talented basketballers in NZ:
- Angela Marino: One of the real gems of the Adelaide Lightning, Marino is a superstar professional women’s basketball player. In the year 2006, she won the WNBL championship, she was also with the Canberra Capitals and the Perth Lynx.
- Aron Baynes: A powerful center and power forward, 32-year-old Baynes from Gisborne has carved an envious niche for himself in the game of basketball. A legend, he plays as a professional for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA). In 2014, he won the NBA championship while with the San Antonio Spurs.
- Casey Frank: A prominent player of the Super City Rangers of the New Zealand National Basketball League. Standing powerfully at over two metres, the power forward player displayed his skills on the court all across the globe, playing in Sweden, the United States and France before finally returning home to join Auckland Stars in 2002.
- Ashley ‘Ash’ Rees: A notable point guard player for New Zealand National Basketball League Canterbury Rams, Rees rose to major national prominence in 2006 after his debut and victory in a game against the Otago Nuggets.
- Craig Robert Bradshaw: Also a tantalizing professional basketball player, Bradshaw is totally fun and sheer entertainment to watch. The legend who dominated the scene before retiring, Craig Bradshaw remains one of the most respected names in the sports in New Zealand. Vastly-exposed and experienced, he plied his trade all over the world with professional performances in Europe (Spain, Latvia, and Turkey), Australia and Asia (South Korea). His exploits with Otago Nuggets and Southland Sharks remain real stuff of legend.
- – Isaac Fotu: Although he plies his trade thousands of kilometres away in Hawaii, Fotu remains a real Kiwi at heart. He is a full-fledged member of the New Zealand national basketball team, and nothing gives him greater pleasure than flying the NZ flag high and proud in international outings. These are just a few of some of the most legendary basketball players to have come out of the majestic nation of New Zealand.