'He taught me the haka' – Breakers coach reveals Kirk Penney inspiration behind NZ move

New Breakers coach Dan Shamir revealed a surprise link to Kiwi basketball, having learned about the game in New Zealand while working with Tall Blacks great Kirk Penney.

Shamir, 44, will take over as the Breakers' new coach for the upcoming season, boasting a lengthy CV in both Israel and Russia.

While many coaches and players in Europe's top leagues would struggle to even find New Zealand on a map, Shamir's time working with Kiwi legend Penney at Israel's Maccabi Tel Aviv opened the coach's eyes to working in the NBL.

Speaking to 1 NEWS this morning, Shamir explained how a chance meeting with Penney has now led to taking charge of the Breakers.

"Thirteen-fourteen years ago, I sat in a gym in the NBA summer league in Minnesota," Shamir began.

"I saw a nice 6'4 guy who can really shoot the ball, I signed him in Tel Aviv. His name was Kirk Penney.

"He taught me the haka and everything back then... I was in touch with him knowing about this place.

"We've been following this league closely in the last few years, when it became so competitive and interesting."

Penney has also been in regular contact with Shamir ahead of the Breakers' new season, offering whatever advice he can to help his former coach settle in to the NBL.

"We've been in very close touch.

"It's a great thing when you have a guy that has experience from the past, being in the same team in a pressure situation like Maccabi.

"Being together, seeing him again, we just hit it off right away and it's been a great help."

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The Israeli will take charge of the Kiwi side ahead of the new NBL season. Source: 1 NEWS

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