Basketball: Opportunities abroad beckon for Kiwi basketball youth

Among the many sports that Kiwi kids play, basketball is the fastest growing in participation.

That's leading to plenty of new opportunities for our best young talent, donning the Fern on the global stage and making New Zealand basketball history.

Basketball New Zealand high performance general manager Leonard King says it's an exciting time for the sport.

"This is the first time ever our under-17 men's team has had the opportunity to go to a world championship and it's the same with our women's team," King says.

Some of those young men heading to Argentina  for next month’s tournament are playing for their regions at the under -19 national championships in Auckland this weekend, including 2.08m (6ft 10in) 17-year-old Anzac Rissetto.

"It'll be an amazing experience, and it shows the youth who are coming through that we have opportunities to go this far and get on the world stage," Risetto told Newshub.

Those opportunities Rissetto speaks of are being utilised by more and more young kids as years go on and recent statistics prove just that.

Basketball has become the fastest growing sport in New Zealand secondary schools, with a whopping 27 percent increase in participation over the past five years.

King’s finding it hard to keep up with the rapid numbers lacing up and taking to the hardwood floors.

"The sport is exploding here," he says. "Every night, they're playing basketball, and we don't have room or space for all the games, so now we're hiring school halls."

King has no doubt the man known as the ‘Big Kiwi’ has helped gain global eyes on our best crop of young talent.

"Steven Adams definitely helps our exposure quite a bit," said King.

Opportunities are aplenty for these teen Tall Blacks, ready to take to the international stage and follow the pathway Adams has paved for them.


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