Sydney Kings - Matt McQuade
The MightyMite Sydney Kings officially launched their 2013/2014 National Basketball League season in a glittering event at the Australian Museum on Thursday, with the highlight of the night being the eagerly anticipated announcement of the Sydney Kings 25th Anniversary Team.
The large crowd gathered for the season launch included many Sydney basketball identities, celebrities, media and corporate partners of the MightyMite Sydney Kings, not to mention the entire 2013/2014 squad, including Head Coach Shane Heal, star Australian big man AJ Ogilvy and imports Jesse Sanders and Charles Carmouche.
MightyMite Sydney Kings Chairman Phil Hudson welcomed those in attendance and spoke of the coming season.
“We have a wonderful and very exciting season ahead,” Mr Hudson said.
“Not only is it our 25 year celebration season but the NBL has been restructured to be a much more dynamic force for our sport.”
“This is a special occasion, as it is not just another season but it is our 25th anniversary season. A special occasion indeed.”
There was great excitement in the air when the members of the 25th Anniversary Team were announced, and that was not surprising considering the extraordinary group that had been voted as the twelve best players in the history of the Sydney Kings.
Olympians, NBA players, Sydney Kings Legends and some of the most exciting imports ever to come out to this country made up a squad which covered all eras of the purple and gold, from the foundation season in 1988, the heights of the early 1990s, the championship teams in the early-mid 2000s and even one player from the 2013/2014 MightyMite Sydney Kings.
Current Sydney Kings Head Coach and Sydney Kings Legend Shane Heal was named as a starter alongside two-time championship winner Jason Smith.
The other starters included the one and only Dwayne ‘D-Train’ McClain, who flew out from the United States to be part of the event; Chris Williams, who was arguably the greatest single season import in NBL history; and Matthew Nielsen, who holds no fewer than 10 individual records for the Sydney Kings.
Legendary Kings’ backcourt mates Steve ‘Mr Magic’ Carfino and Damian ‘Threeo’ Keogh headlined a formidable bench that included the spectacular Leon ‘Above the Rim’ Trimmingham, relentless forward Mark Worthington, deadly shooter CJ Bruton, Sydney Kings Legend Mark Dalton and current Sydney Kings Co-Captain, Ben Madgen.
Ben Madgen was stunned by his elevation into the 25th Anniversary Team.
“I was just happy to have my name in the shortlist of 30 players, to be honest,” he said.
“But to be voted as one of the 12 players on the 25th Anniversary Team is amazing.”
“To be mentioned in the same breath as Kings’ legends like Dwayne McClain, Shane Heal and Matty Nielsen is just incredible and a really humbling experience.”
Three-time championship winner with the Kings, the great Brian Goorjian, was named head coach of the 25th Anniversary Team, while Jason Smith was bestowed the honour as captain of the team.
It was also announced that the fans had selected the Sydney Kings’ first championship winning team in 2002/2003 as their all-time favourite Kings squad.
The 12 players and a coach were selected by fans and a panel comprising long-time Sydney basketball identities.
Chairman of the MightyMite Sydney Kings, Mr Phil Hudson, was one judge, as was former coach and general manager Bob Turner and a previous owner of the team, Andrew Lazaris.
Adam Wrublewski, the son of the team’s founder, Mike Wrublewski, was also on the judging panel, as was ABC Radio’s Debbie Spillane. The panel was completed by Kings’ stalwart John Davidson, Sydney Kings’ Media and Communications Manager Matt McQuade, and the man who is the alter ego of the famous Sydney Kings Lion.
Fans and the judging panel were asked to vote for a shortlist of 30 players and three coaches. That was followed by a second vote, held over a two week period, where fans and the judging panel selected those 12 men they believe have best represented the Sydney Kings over 25 seasons, plus the 25th Anniversary Team’s head coach.
The MightyMite Sydney Kings open their 2013/2014 National Basketball League season on Sunday afternoon at 2pm at the Sydney Entertainment Centre against the Melbourne Tigers, and members of the 25th Anniversary Team will be presented to the crowd during a special halftime ceremony.
NBL – BRING IT.
The full Sydney Kings 25th Anniversary Team follows.