For years, the New Zealand Breakers have encouraged their players to chase their NBA dreams. Now, those players will be able to do so while wearing Breakers jerseys.
The Breakers have been confirmed to play the Phoenix Suns on October 3 in Arizona, marking the first time a New Zealand side will go head-to-head against NBA opposition.
The pre-season clash is part of a trio of games pitting the best of the Australian NBL against the NBA, and after Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane got the opportunity last year, this time the Breakers get to show the NBA what New Zealand has to offer.
Breakers General Manager Dillon Boucher is ecstatic to receive the opportunity.
"I can't think of anything more high profile than this," Boucher told the Herald.
"Having the opportunity to have our players go up against the world's best, it's always something you want to measure yourself on.
"We made it very clear last season when teams when up that we'd love the opportunity to be involved. With our connections up in the States with [new owner] Matt Walsh and his ownership group and through the NBL, it helped make the game a reality."
The game will give a rare opportunity for the Breakers players to test their skills against the best in the world. Tom Abercrombie and Corey Webster will get another crack against NBA opposition, while the likes of Shea Ili and Finn Delany have the floor to showcase their talents as their burgeoning careers develop.
They'll be going up against two of the NBA's most hyped young talents - the number one draft pick in the 2018 draft, DeAndre Ayton, as well as 21-year-old Devin Booker, one of just six players to have scored 70 points in a NBA game.
"It's going to be huge for our guys' development because we'll be taking on the best of the best. It's exactly what we need in terms of growth," states head coach Kevin Braswell.
"It's going to be great for our team in terms of unity and building chemistry with each other. We'll be going straight from the NBL Blitz to Phoenix, which will be good practice and preparation leading into our season."
The travel involved for the clash will make for a slightly disruptive start to the Breakers' 2018-2019 campaign, but for Boucher, that issue is made irrelevant given the immense opportunity provided by the Phoenix fixture.
"Any time you get an opportunity you've got to make the most of it. It certainly will be a little bit disruptive to the start of the season, but it won't impact any of the regular season games. Everyone's going to have a great opportunity to put their best foot forward."
It's an opportunity not only for the Breakers, but for New Zealand basketball as a whole, and Boucher is appreciative of the NBL's role in helping grow the game in this country.
"The NBL, as much as they want basketball to grow in Australia, they understand the surge of the sport in New Zealand as well and want to see the sport grow here also," Boucher posits.
Consider this another significant growth spurt for a sport which is hitting new heights.