Talk Sport with Mark Rogers, Tauranga City Basketball general manager
June is a busy month in basketball.
The NBA finals have just been completed with the Golden State Warriors winning the title. An estimated 1 million people attended their victory parade.
This week has also seen the FIBA men's world 3x3 championships in the Philippines. New Zealand qualified and took part in this exciting shortened version of the game. The team faced the best on the planet and finished a very credible 11th in the world. This is also exciting because 3x3 is also going to be included at the 2020 Olympic Games.
Locally, qualifying was held in Tauranga over Queen's Birthday for the national under-15 and under-17 boys' and girls' events. Tauranga City and Rotorua basketball associations have qualified teams.
This year is the second time a Tauranga City team has secured a No 1 seed spot from this event (under-15 boys) and also the first time Tauranga City has had B teams qualify for the national finals tournament (under-15 boys B and girls B).
This weekend sees the 30th and final edition of the Atomic Masters tournament.
The volunteers who have run this tournament have raised funds from the event to help young players from the region. A special thank you to all the Atomic Masters members who have helped our sport over the past 30 years.
On June 28 the Tall Blacks play Hong Kong in Rotorua in one of their world championship qualifying events. Tickets are available from ticketmaster.co.nz.
Basketball in the Eastern Bay continues to grow very rapidly with the secondary school league growing again for the fourth year in a row. The work Gareth Yates from Sport Bay of Plenty has done has been instrumental in developing this growth.
The possibilities for New Zealand's basketballers, both male and female, continue to grow. Two examples are Tauranga's William Raisbeck, who has just announced he has signed a scholarship agreement with Notre Dame (Div. 2) College in Cleveland, USA, and Shalom Broughton who has made the NZ U17 side which will play at the world championship in Argentina next month.
It is great for Tauranga City and the wider Bay of Plenty that basketball is able to provide these opportunities and bring the economic spin-offs from hosting basketball events here.
I hope you get the opportunity to come and support local sides playing here in events throughout the year.
For more information on basketball in the Bay of Plenty visit www.tauranga.basketball, www.rotoruabasketball.org.nz or www.sporty.co.nz/easternbaysbb