Basketball veterans Everard Bartlett and Alonzo Burton are working to grow the game of 3x3 basketball in the Bay.

"I'm just trying to bring awareness of the sport to our people because now it is an Olympic sport," says Bartlett, "so there is a lot of opportunity, a lot of world events happening and it's just another pathway for kids to play basketball."

"I do know that for those that do miss out on say the Tall Blacks who represent New Zealand, this is another avenue to represent your country and to travel the world."

Though the basketball duo admit 3x3 is not very big in New Zealand right now with 5x5 being the more popular option.


"It hasn't got that much attention, we have done very well in the past with our under age groups, but it has not been popular I haven't really heard much about it but I'm hoping to change that."

Bartlett and Burton were part of the team that represented New Zealand at the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup in Mongolia this year bringing home the silver medal.

"It was my very first time playing 3 x 3 and it is a whole another world," says Bartlett.

"It's very exciting," agrees Burton, "from what Everard and I experienced in Mongolia it's very physical as well but it's quick it's completely different to 5 x 5 but it's a really enjoyable game."

Both men have played for various teams in the NBL competition, both have been NZ Breakers while Bartlett has played with the Tall Blacks and had a stint in the Aussie league before returning home.

He is a Flaxmere boy who says that it's now his turn to give back to the community by teaching the younger generation about 3x3.

"Well when I got the opportunity, of course I was going to bring it to Flaxmere first," he says with a smile. "I'm happy to be here and to throw 'em here for Flaxmere schools because I know how much talent there is in the low decile areas and this is definitely one of the target areas for me personally."

To help inspire the young ones they held a 3x3 tournament at Peterhead Primary in Flaxmere with other local schools to help build their confidence and skill.

"They're pretty good I've seen some talent out there, there is a lot of things I think they need to learn in terms of the rules but they'll pick that up as they go along it's only their first time playing," says Burton.