Eastern Courier : November 7th 2014
12 EASTERN COURIER, NOVEMBER 7, 2014 SPORT www.stuff.co.nz Global pathway for city streetball By ALAN APTED Street basketball is about to hit Auckland and technology will take it global. It’s all on for early next year when telecommunications company Spark builds a full-sized basketball court in Otamariki Park, on the corner of Bairds and East Tamaki roads. The court will have a wi-fi hotspot so players and spectators can connect to the internet and share photos and video of games as they’re being played. More interactive tech- nology is being developed for installation. But Spark, previously known as Telecom, prefers to keep that a surprise. It’s all part of a programme called The Boroughs Project which Spark has going with the OtaraPapatoetoe Local Board. Four other courts will be built in Pt England, Avondale, Victoria Park and Albany. Each will have a sister court in the United States – the Otamariki Park court has Rucker Park in New York’s Harlem as its partner. Kiwi NBA star Steven Adams of the Oklahoma City Thunder is adding his star power to the project. He and long-time manager Kenny McFadden are on a mission to bring the culture of pick-up basketball from world-famous courts in the United States to Auckland. ‘‘Auckland needs decent, upgraded outdoor courts so people can get out on them and play for free,’’ Adams says. ‘‘Not everyone can afford to get to the gym so, like streetball in the States, these courts are for everyone.’’ McFadden, a legend in New Zealand’s basketball community, is excited by how the technology could help player development. ‘‘Putting the tech on the courts, that’s cool. No doubt about it, it’s the first in the world that I’ve seen. ‘‘For players to be able to Ball talk: Kiwi basketball star Steven Adams, right, talks withUSplayer Reggie Jackson about a new court being built in Otara next year. Search on for favourite umpire Who is your favourite cricket umpire in Auckland? Specsavers and New Zea- land Cricket are calling for nominations in their search for Specsavers’ Favourite Local Cricket Umpire. People are encouraged to nominate for the chance to reward their unsung heroes with a money-can’t-buy prize pack that includes golf with the Blackcaps and oneon-one training with a top umpire. Auckland Aces captain Rob Nicol says: ‘‘Umpires are a crucial driving force behind our game and the Specsavers competition is a great way to put these volunteers in the spotlight and recognise their time, energy and commitment, as they’re the real sporting heroes.’’ Six finalists will be selec- ted from around the country and will each receive $500 to put towards training and club facilities, signed Blackcaps memorabilia and a voucher for two pairs of designer glasses from Specsavers, including prescription sunglasses. From these finalists the national winner will be selected – winning a trip for two to Auckland to attend the New Zealand Cricket Blackcaps annual golf day. The winner will also receive a trip for two to Wel- lington to attend the ANZ One Day International against Sri Lanka, a one-onone training session with a leading cricket umpire and two pairs of Specsavers glasses. New Zealand Cricket umpire coach and former ICC elite panel umpire Tony Hill says: ‘‘We’re looking forward to seeing the nominations come through and hope the search will continue to inspire the budding next generation to continue in the legacy of Kiwi umpire greats.’’ ❚ See specsavers.co.nz/ favouriteumpire to nominate by January 5. Volunteer recognition: Billy Bowden, left, with last year’s favourite umpire Howick resident Ant German and son Max. go down and use all that technology for their own selfdevelopment is extremely powerful,’’ he says. ‘‘This project will give a lot of people the opportunity to express themselves and more importantly, take pride in their community and courts. It’s a great concept.’’ Many NBA greats got started with streetball and Spark’s home, mobile and business chief executive Chris Quin is hoping The Boroughs project can do the same for Kiwi youngsters. A new online game and community input into each court’s colours and branding is key to letting players and fans get involved, Quin says. ‘‘It’s seen us form the only New Zealand partnership with the NBA and bring together NBA legends like Dr J [Julius Erving] with our very own Steven Adams to talk about how street basketball shapes the play and makes the stars of basketball.’’ Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board chairman Efeso Collins says the new court will be a welcome addition to the area’s sports facilities. ‘‘With a youth population of around 25,000, aged between 10 and 29, who are active in sport . . . I’m sure many of them will be excited to hear about this project.’’ Star power: Kiwi NBAstar Steven Adams is adding star power to The Boroughs Project. Go to theboroughs.co.nz to see Julius ‘‘Dr J’’ Erving talking about The Boroughs Project.
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