Only one club has been with the National Basketball League for the entire 40 season journey. One club.
And that club does not even come from a capital city. Not, Sydney and not Melbourne. Nor Brisbane or even Perth. No, the Illawarra Hawks have been the only constant for the 40 seasons of the NBL.
One club has ridden the basketball roller coaster in this country and despite some twists and turns, has come out the other end.
While the Hawks may not have the budgets of some of the current capital city franchises, there is no club richer in history.
The Illawarra Mercury and the Illawarra Hawks formed a collaboration to celebrate that history with the Greatest Hawks of All Time campaign leading into heritage round against New Zealand at the WIN Entertainment Centre tonight.
A specially selected judging panel came up with a list of 40 players to chose from as the Greatest Hawks of All Time. The final 12 have been selected based on both the judging panel and a public vote.
“The community and the Illawarra Mercury have ridden that entire journey with the Hawks so it was only fitting we were able to join together in this celebration,” Illawarra Mercury editor Julian O’Brien said.
“On behalf of the Mercury, I must thank the judges, the people who voted and most particularly the Illawarra Hawks organisation for helping us bring this concept to fruition.
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“The passion and pride the people of this region have in their community is reflected in our support and passion for the Illawarra Hawks.”
12 GREATEST HAWKS OF ALL TIME:
Gordie McLeod, Chuck Harmison, Melvin Thomas, Mat Campbell, Glen Saville (all automatic inclusions), Ray Borner, Jim Slacke, Michael Jones, Norman Taylor, Darnell Mee, Rotnei Clarke, Doug Overton.
The other nominees in the Greatest Hawks of All Time were: Jim Bateman, Don Bickett, , Alphonse Hammond, Jerry Steurer, Bob Kubbinga, Benny Lewis, Dene McDonald, Greg Hubbard, Justin Withers, Rod Johnson, Clayton Ritter, Butch Hays, Damon Lowery, Charles Thomas, Matt Garrison, CJ Bruton, Adam Ballinger, Axel Dench, Cortez Groves, Tim Coenraad, Oscar Forman, Rhys Martin, Larry Davidson, AJ Ogilvy, Gary Ervin, Kevin Lisch, Nick Kay, Kirk Penney.