Kawerau hopefuls take on streetball stars

By Gary Hamilton-Irvine


Three of the best streetballers in Harlem, New York, are set to show off their skills in Kawerau.

Harlem is the home of streetball, with massive crowds turning out to watch players in competitions like the Dyckman League. Streetball is a variation of basketball and is typically played on outdoor courts or half courts.

Last year's winners of the Dyckman League, Team 914, who beat NBA star Kevin Durant's Team Nike on the way to the final, have sent three of their top players to New Zealand.

The trip is in partnership with There's A Better Way Foundation who look to make positive change in communities by using basketball as a platform, getting people involved in sport and giving youth positive role models.

Te Wananga o Aotearoa Kawerau youth mentoring co-ordinator Jordaan Tuitama, who helped attract the trio to Kawerau, said they would be visiting every school in town tomorrow to speak and show off some skills.

"We want every child in the whole of Kawerau to see these guys. It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing to see a 7ft 3 inch player [Shagari Alleyne] who played in the NBA."

Mr Tuitama said the three-man team were the three-on-three US champions, playing under the name Uptown 914.

He said a three-on-three streetball competition would be held tomorrow at the Kawerau Recreation Centre from 4pm, with the winners of the 20-team competition given the chance to play against the stars.

Mr Tuitama said the trio were originally planning just to visit Auckland this month but he told them if they wanted to see the real New Zealand they should come to Kawerau.

"They will be staying in a marae for a few nights and we'll be putting on a hangi and things like that for them."

The team arrive in Kawerau today where they will be greeted with a powhiri.

Tomorrow they will spend the day in town visiting schools before featuring at the three-on-three competition. The star players will also visit some of Rotorua's hotspots like the luge and Polynesian Spa on their way back to Auckland on Thursday.

To sign up a team for the three-on-three streetball competition in Kawerau on Wednesday contact Te Wananga o Aotearoa Kawerau on (07) 306 9420. Team spaces are limited.

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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