Tall Blacks legend Sean Marks was inducted into the Basketball New Zealand Hall of Fame at the Basketball New Zealand Awards in Wellington.
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 overnight.
Instead, Gregory Marks attended to accept the award on Sean’s behalf, and to read out a letter Sean sent to his father.
“Sorry I am unable to attend this special event. I’m 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,” Sean’s letter reads.
“My journey has taken many different paths, none of which I could have imagined while being a teacher on Auckland’s North Shore. I’ve 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.”
Sean Marks began his basketball career at Rangitoto College, then in 1992, he moved to the United States to study and play for the University of California, Berkeley.
He would go on to become the first New Zealander to play in the NBA, and 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, with 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.
Sean’s career highlights include playing for the Spurs who won the 2005 NBA Championship, and again in 2014 while he 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 Zealand’s team of the year and overall winners of the Halberg Awards for that year.
Excellence, outstanding achievements and true dedication to New Zealand sport was celebrated and recognised at the Basketball New Zealand Awards this evening, held in Wellington.
Basketball NZ chief executive Iain Potter says Friday’s awards recognise dedicated individuals throughout the country who embody the true spirit of basketball.
“Basketball in New Zealand is benefitting from incredible growth in so many areas of the game, from record participation at a community level to new elite opportunities through New Zealand's admission into FIBA's new Asia Zone.
“There's no doubt that New Zealand basketball is poised for great things. None of successes and opportunities would be possible without foundations of game, which have been laid by people who have fostered the game in Aotearoa before now.”
Iain says without those who have played and contributed in years gone by, like Sean, basketball wouldn't be rapidly becoming part of our Nation's identity, “and New Zealand wouldn't be developing into a serious participant on the global stage”.
“That is why we are celebrating their achievements and service to the game.”
The awards recognised excellence and contribution in the 2016 year, plus those who were inducted into the Hall of Fame, and those who received the new pinnacle award, called the Basketball Legend award.
To view the full list of award winners, visit www.basketball.org.nz