National Basketball League (New Zealand)
|Current season, competition or edition:|
2019 New Zealand NBL season
Sal's NBL Logo
|Director||Justin Nelson (general manager)|
|No. of teams||9|
|Continent||FIBA Oceania (Oceania)|
|Southland Sharks (3rd title)|
|Most titles||Wellington Saints (10 titles)|
|Level on pyramid||1|
Nine teams will compete in the 2019 season, with teams based in Auckland, Christchurch, Invercargill, Napier, Nelson, New Plymouth, Palmerston North and Wellington, as well as for the first time in league history, an Australian team based in Tasmania.
Despite financial woes forcing a number of teams over the past decade to fold, the quality of play in the league continues to improve, evidenced by more New Zealand players going on to play in the Australian National Basketball League (ANBL) and college basketball in the United States. Some have even gone on further to make the NBA, such as Kirk Penney and Steven Adams. The league has a limit of three imports per team with many of the imports coming from the United States. The league also only allows one naturalised New Zealand player per team.
In the league's early days, Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury dominated the competition. By the mid-1990s, Auckland and Nelson were the teams to beat, with New Zealand basketball legends Pero Cameron and Phill Jones dominating during this era for Auckland and Nelson, respectively. Auckland and Waikato dominated during the 2000s, but with Auckland's departure following the 2012 season, the door was left open for Wellington and Southland to fill the void of the league's premier teams.
Through the 1970s, basketball games in New Zealand were organised between neighbouring representative teams, or in annual tournaments organised as club or provincial national tournaments. Other competitions were also held during Easter tournaments or in small regional leagues. The Countrywide Basketball League began in 1982 in response to a need for consistent and quality competition on a semi-professional basis, to match the structure and improvements occurring in Australia. Tall Blacks such as Stan Hill, Dave Edmonds, Glen Denham, Byron Vaetoe, Peter Pokai and Tony Smith were important cogs during the early years of the competition. However, Americans dominated the league during the 1980s. Imported players like Clyde Huntley, Angelo Hill, Frank Smith, Kerry Boagni, Willie Burton, Ronnie Joyner, Benny Anthony, Tyrone and Tony Brown, and Kenny McFadden added a level of sophistication and style to the Kiwi basketball scene.
The big city teams such as Auckland, Canterbury and Wellington dominated in the early years, but when the Hutt Valley Lakers won 1991 and 1993, the star players began to spread out. The Nelson Giants won their first championship in 1994 and Auckland became the first team to win three titles in a row from 1995–97. After the Waitakere Rangers, Hutt Valley Lakers and Northland Suns left in the late 1990s, the league's level of competitiveness took a hit.
The mid-1990s saw a shift in the skill level of the New Zealand players. Star players like Pero Cameron and Phill Jones began to lead their respective squads to success, as teams began to rely more heavily on New Zealanders than ever before. By the early 2000s, the league implemented the one-import rule so as to limit the American domination on the league, and with the formation of the New Zealand Breakers in 2003, Kiwi players found an incentive to continue playing in the NZNBL in hopes of being rewarded with an ANBL contract. Players like Pero Cameron, Phill Jones, Dillon Boucher, Lindsay Tait, Mika Vukona, Pāora Winitana and Paul Henare became household names in New Zealand and Australian basketball circles.
Former and defunct teamsEdit
- Auckland Pirates (2011–2012)
- Auckland Stars (1982–2009)
- Centrals (1982–1985)
- Christchurch Cougars (2009–2010)
- Harbour Heat (1986–2010, 2012)
- Hutt Valley Lakers (1990–1996)
- Northland Suns (1995–1998)
- Otago Nuggets (1990–2008, 2010–2014)
- Ponsonby (1984–1988)
- Porirua (1982–1983)
- Waikato Pistons (1982, 1984–2011, 2013–2014)
- Waitemata (1982–1983, 1988–1989)
League eligibility rulesEdit
There are two categories of players in the NZNBL:
- Non-Restricted Player – players eligible to play for New Zealand in FIBA competitions
- Restricted Player – a player who is not eligible to play for New Zealand
Basketball New Zealand believes that the NZNBL is very much a part of the player pathway for New Zealand players, where Tall Blacks and potential Tall Blacks can play and develop as players. For that reason, it is intended that NZNBL teams have a majority of players that are able to represent New Zealand.
In March 2016, Basketball New Zealand, the NZNBL, and New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME) announced that two weekly NBL games will be livestreamed free of charge on NZHerald.co.nz throughout the 2016 season. In December 2016, NZME joined forces with Basketball New Zealand and Maori Television in a new media partnership for the 2017 season. NZME announced they would continue to build on the success of the 2016 live streaming in 2017 with at least two games a week to be livestreamed on NZHerald.co.nz, as well as all games during the Final Four weekend. In addition, Maori Television will televise free to air live coverage of a NBL game every Sunday afternoon at 3pm, for the duration of the competition, and live coverage of the Final Four weekend consisting of the Semi Finals and Final. Maori Television will also show delayed coverage of a second game every week on a Saturday afternoon during the season.
List of ChampionsEdit
During their time in the competition, the Auckland Stars were the benchmark of the NBL. Their 9 titles was a league record until Wellington won their 10th title in 2017. Next best is Canterbury and Waikato with 4, then Nelson and Southland (3), Hutt Valley (2), Hawke's Bay (1), and Auckland Pirates (1).
- Australian National Basketball League (ANBL)
- Conference Basketball League (CBL) – defunct second-tier league
- List of National Basketball League (New Zealand) awards
- New Zealand Tall Blacks
- Cowles Stadium – Christchurch City Council
- Pirates out of 2013 NBL
- Nuggets pull out of NBL
- Basketball: Otago Nuggets targeting NBL comeback in 2017
- Waikato Pistons out of 2012 national league
- Waikato Pistons pull out of NBL competition
- NZ NBL AGREE TO THE RETURN OF MANAWATU JETS IN 2018
- NZ NBL MEDIA STATEMENT: THE RULING OF JOSHUA DUINKER’S ELIGIBILITY AND PLAYING STATUS IN THE NZ NBL
- THE NEW ZEALAND NBL TO BE BROADCAST LIVE AND FREE ON NZHERALD.CO.NZ
- Basketball: NZ Herald to live stream NZ NBL in 2017
- 2015 Bartercard NBL Handbook (p. 31)
- New Zealand NBL official website
- New Zealand NBL 2003 to 2006
- New Zealand NBL career points leaders (as of 2009)
- Basketball: Several changes on the agenda for NZ NBL
- State of the NBL: National Basketball League at critical juncture
- Basketball: Tasmania's Southern Huskies set to join New Zealand National Basketball League
- Tasmanian franchise eyeing place in New Zealand's National Basketball League