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Tom Abercrombie at Ron Giorgi III basketball court opening

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

In a real coup, internationally renowned Tall Black Tom Abercrombie will be at the opening of New Zealand’s first Hoops in Parks basketball court at Ron Giorgi III Park in Flaxmere on June 13.

The excitement is already building with the news the famed basketballer will be at the court. Abercrombie is one of only 11 New Zealanders to have played over 100 tests for the Tall Blacks. He is also the Breakers leading points scorer and, in April this year, became the most capped Breakers player. He was on the medal-winning Commonwealth Games Tall Blacks team in 2018 and has played in three FIBA World Championships with the Tall Blacks.

Basketball Hawke’s Bay manager Nick Hogan says having Abercrombie in the Bay is really exciting for all Bay basketball fans. "He is a hero to our young up-and-coming players and he is really passionate about sharing his love for the sport.

"Tom has been all around the world playing basketball and has an international profile. He is a real role-model, and being able to talk to someone who has put in an incredible amount of work to become so successful is not something our kids in Hawke’s Bay often get the chance at."

Hoops in Parks is an extension of the nationally successful Hoops in Schools programme. The parks initiative is being trialled in Flaxmere in a partnership between Basketball NZ, Basketball HB, Sport Hawke’s Bay and Hastings District Council. The opening of the Ron Georgi III court will be followed by the construction of a court in Flaxmere Park. Those two courts and the new full-size court at Te Kura o Kimi Ora, which encourages community access, will mean almost every home in Flaxmere will be within a 10-minute walk of a new full-size basketball court. While Abercrombie and the new court will no doubt be the star attractions at the opening, there is plenty more planned, including free sausage sizzle, giveaways, off-court play for the littlies, and plenty of community court action.

Depending on their schedule, Hawks players are lined up to attend, and Flaxmere councillor and Hastings ambassador Henare O’Keefe is rounding up his fellow councillors to take on all-comers from the community.

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