A sense of pride in slipping on a basketball jersey for their country and the chance to perform against the best in the world remain a catalyst for Jarrod Kenny and Everard Bartlett.
The IMS Payroll Hawks pair were yesterday named in a party of 14 Tall Blacks travelling through Asia and Europe from Saturday, on their way to Spain for the Fiba World Cup late next month.
Coach Nenad Vucinic and co-assistants Pero Cameron and Paul Henare will drop two players from that squad before the cup.
Kenny is going despite not having played in the three-test series here against South Korea last week.
"I had a good enough NBL season so, even though I didn't get on the court, they knew what I could do," said Kenny, 28.
Should they survive the cut, it will be the maiden World Cup for the 28-year-old pair.
"It's a great sense of accomplishment and I'm very proud to represent New Zealand and to play against the best in the world," point guard Kenny said from Auckland, enjoying the trip down memory lane last week when he wished the Hawke's Bay age-group teams all the best at their nationals.
Kenny said it was tough not knowing if the coaching stable would stick with him but felt he could not do much with his foot injury apart from resting it.
His parents Danny and Liz Kenny, and Irish girlfriend Ailbhe Madden, of the Bay, would travel to Spain to watch him compete in the cup.
"When you play any sport you want to compete against the best in the world."
Bartlett felt it was a great sense of accomplishment.
"It's an endorsement of all the hard work and dedication to a profession," the shooting guard said.
"The World Cup is the biggest thing for us next to the Olympics and an accolade against the world's best."
Bartlett, who is adapting to new roles with the Tall Blacks, emphasised the work was not over in a competitive squad, even though making the tour was an achievement in itself.
Hawks coach Tab Baldwin had caught a flight to the Philippines on Saturday but had supported their selection all the way post-NBL playoffs.