The new owners of Kiwi NBL club the New Zealand Breakers have been announced today, with some big names both in basketball and business taking pieces of the pie to form a group ownership.
Current owners and directors Paul and Liz Blackwell today announced that a newly formed company, Breakers Basketball Ltd, will take control of the club from March 1, on the eve of the club's eighth appearance in 11 years in the NBL semifinals.
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Source: 1 NEWS
The consortium is headed by former NBA player Matt Walsh and also features business partners Adam Goodman, Romie Chaudhari, Dan Katz and former NBA champion and All Star Shawn Marion.
The Blackwells will remain with the Breakers as minority shareholders after 13 years owning the club with Paul Blackwell retaining his seat on the Board and also having "influence over key aspects of the organisation's future," the Breakers said in a statement today.
Walsh played two games for the Miami Heat before he moved on to Europe and enjoyed a successful 10-year career there before retiring in 2015.
Since retiring, he has turned his focus to business and now holds interests in English Premier League football club Swansea City, but admits he and his partners have been looking for a basketball team.
"We were attracted to the club for a number of reasons, they clearly know how to win on the court, with eight playoff appearances in the last 11 years, five grand finals and four championships," said Walsh.
"But our main interest was in the amazing culture that the Blackwell's and others have built over that time, combined with the growth of basketball in New Zealand and being located in the world class city of Auckland."
Walsh will relocate from the US to take on a hands-on roll with the club at its Auckland headquarters.
Walsh says the focus for the future is about growing the commercial side of the business, at a time when the NBL is growing and gaining in reputation.
"As far as we are concerned we see little to improve on the basketball side of things, but our collective experience and sports ownership background will allow us to add exponentially to the commercial side of the business while building on the already strong foundations and values at the club."
Breakers Basketball Ltd.
-Matthew Walsh - Former NBA and European Basketball player. Minority owner of Swansea City
-Adam Goodman - Partner at Goodman Properties
-Romie Chaudhari - Owner and Board member of Swansea City
-Dan Katz, Henry Lockwood, and "PFT Commenter" - Hosts of number one sports podcast on iTunes, Pardon My Take
-Shawn Marion - NBA Champion and four-time All Star
-Paul and Liz Blackwell - former majority owners of the Breakers