Tall Blacks legend Sean Marks was inducted into the Basketball New Zealand Hall of Fame tonight at the Basketball New Zealand Awards held in Wellington. (See the full release here).
In February 2016, Marks began his role as General Manager for the Brooklyn Nets, which was part of the reason he was unable to attend the Awards. His father, Gregory Marks, attended to accept the award on Seans behalf, and to read out the following letter that Sean Marks sent to his father.
"Sorry I am unable to attend this special event. Im certainly humbled and very honoured to be inducted into the Basketball New Zealand Hall of Fame. However, it is with great pleasure that my father is able to be there on my behalf.
My journey has taken many different paths, none of which I could have imagined while being a teacher on Aucklands North Shore. Ive been incredibly fortunate to have met role models and countless instrumental people from all works of life, not to mention the life changing experiences along the way. From first being dropped off in Los Angles to embark on attaining a college scholarship, to find myself quickly calling for help and needing my fathers assistance to navigate the decisions ahead.
Once settled and having earned my college degree at University of California Berkeley, it was onto 12 years of professional basketball where, through half a dozen NBA teams, and playing and working with inspirational leaders such as Pat Riley, Gregg Popovich and RC Buford, who continue to help shape me to this day, to winning two NBA championships, the incredible opportunity to represent New Zealand at two Olympic Games and one World Championship, to the incredible teammates and personalities that Ive played with from Shaquille ONeil, Steve Nash, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan. Many of the best and closest were my New Zealand national teammates. There have been too many memories to rehash them all, but regardless, all were certainly a far off dream when practicing on my hoop in the backyard in Auckland.
Theres no doubt that it takes hard work, dedication, goal setting and resetting, plenty of luck and personal sacrifice and faith, but it is abundantly clear that its the sacrifices of those around me from my wife Jennifer and our four boys: Aidan, Lucas, Owen and Elliot, to my first coaches Doc Ward and Tab Baldwin and Keith Mair, my US coaches Todd Bozeman and Ben Braun who saw something in me as a skinny kid with an accent. Not forgetting Murray Hing and the many trainers and physiotherapists that helped to put me back together.
My journey seems to have come full circle where Im again asking for my father to assist and be there tonight. It is without question that it is the values instilled in me and the unwavering support from my parents that afforded me the chance to dream big, and the best I can do is support my boys in that same fashion.
Thanks and again Im certainly humbled and honoured by this award tonight."
Sean Marks began his basketball career at Rangitoto College. In 1992, he moved to the United States to study and play for the University of California, Berkeley. He was the first New Zealander to play in the NBA. In 1998 he was drafted into the NBA by the New York Knicks, but went on to play for the Toronto Raptors.
Between 1998 until his retirement from playing in 2011, Marks played for the Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns, New Orleans Hornets and the Portland Trail Blazers. He also did a brief stint in Poland playing for Slask Wroclaw between 2000 and 2001. Upon retirement from the game, he took up a position in 2012 as Director of Basketball for the Spurs, and a year later became Assistant Coach for the team. In 2015 he returned to the front office becoming Assistant General Manager of the Spurs.
Career highlights included playing for the Spurs who won the 2005 NBA Championship. The Spurs won the NBA Champs again in 2014 while Sean was Assistant Coach. He played for the Tall Blacks in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the 2004 Athens Olympics, and was part of the Tall Blacks team that finished fourth at the 2002 FIBA World Championships held in Indianapolis, USA. That team went on to be awarded New Zealands team of the year and overall winners of the Halberg Awards for that year.