National Basketball League (New Zealand)
|Current season, competition or edition:|
2021 New Zealand NBL season
|Director||Justin Nelson (general manager)|
|No. of teams||10|
|Continent||FIBA Oceania (Oceania)|
|Otago Nuggets (1st title)|
|Most titles||Wellington Saints (11 titles)|
|TV partner(s)||Sky Sport|
|Level on pyramid||1|
In 1981, a group of club and provincial teams came together to create a men's national basketball league. The following year, the league was brought under the management of the New Zealand Basketball Federation. The league quickly grew in size and popularity due to the influx of sponsors and American import players. The early 1990s held dwindling fortunes for New Zealand basketball, with reduced TV coverage, sponsorships, and crowd numbers. The sport's popularity increased in the 2000s with the success of the Tall Blacks and the introduction of the New Zealand Breakers in the Australian NBL.
In the early days, Auckland, Canterbury and Wellington were the benchmark teams of the league. During the 1990s, Auckland and Nelson were the teams to beat, before Waikato joined Auckland as the dominant sides during the 2000s. During the 2010s, Wellington and Southland became the league's premier teams.
The 1980s ushered in a period of exceptional growth and popularity for basketball in New Zealand. Late in 1981, six men's teams – a mixture of club and provincial representative sides – went out alone and created an inaugural national league. It was enough of a success to come under the control of the New Zealand Basketball Federation the following year, when it grew in size and secured a naming sponsor. An allowance of two imported players (invariably Americans with college basketball experience) per team, and the fact that games were played in the evening indoors, helped turn the league into a new family entertainment option. Spectators filled gymnasiums and media coverage reached unprecedented levels. The early 1990s held dwindling fortunes for New Zealand basketball and many teams in the NBL, with reduced TV coverage, sponsorships, and crowd numbers. With the success of the Tall Blacks at the 2002 FIBA World Championship and the introduction of the New Zealand Breakers in the Australian NBL in 2003, basketball in New Zealand rose in popularity again.
The number of teams each season has constantly changed since the league's inception, with many promotions and relegations between the first division and second division during the 1980s and 1990s, as well as many withdrawals due to financial reasons. The league began with 8 teams in 1982, then peaked at 13 teams in 1995, before dropping to a low of 7 in 2016. In 2019, the Southern Huskies from Tasmania became the first ever Australian team to join a New Zealand competition. The league returned to 7 teams in 2020 following a revised small-scale format due to the coronavirus pandemic.
|Auckland Huskies||Auckland||Auckland Region||Eventfinda Stadium||4,179||2019||Aaron Young|
|Canterbury Rams||Christchurch||Canterbury||Cowles Stadium||2,300||1982||Mick Downer|
|Franklin Bulls||Pukekohe||Auckland Region||Franklin Pool and Leisure Centre||1,100||2020||Jamie Reddish|
|Hawke's Bay Hawks||Napier||Hawke's Bay||Pettigrew Green Arena||2,500||1983||Jacob Chance|
|Manawatu Jets||Palmerston North||Manawatū-Whanganui||Central Energy Trust Arena||2,000||1982||Tim McTamney|
|Nelson Giants||Nelson||Nelson||Trafalgar Centre||2,460||1982||Michael Fitchett|
|Otago Nuggets||Dunedin||Otago||Edgar Centre||2,880||1990||Brent Matehaere|
|Southland Sharks||Invercargill||Southland||Stadium Southland||4,019||2010||Rob Beveridge|
|Taranaki Mountainairs||New Plymouth||Taranaki||TSB Stadium||4,560||1985||Trent Adam|
|Wellington Saints||Wellington||Wellington Region||TSB Bank Arena||4,002||1983||Zico Coronel|
Former and defunct teams
- Auckland Pirates (2011–2012)
- Auckland Stars (1982–2009)
- Centrals (1982–1985)
- Christchurch Cougars (2009–2010)
- Harbour Heat (1986–2010, 2012)
- Hutt Valley Lakers (1990–1996)
- Northland Suns (1995–1998)
- Ponsonby (1984–1988)
- Porirua (1982–1983)
- Super City Rangers (1990–1995, 2013–2019)
- Waikato Pistons (1982, 1984–2011, 2013–2014)
- Waitemata Dolphins (1982–1983, 1988–1989)
League eligibility rules
There are two categories of players in the NZNBL:
- Non-Restricted Player – players eligible to play for New Zealand in FIBA competitions
- Restricted Player – a player who is not eligible to play for New Zealand
Basketball New Zealand believes that the NZNBL is very much a part of the player pathway for New Zealand players, where Tall Blacks and potential Tall Blacks can play and develop as players. For that reason, it is intended that NZNBL teams have a majority of players that are able to represent New Zealand.
In March 2016, Basketball New Zealand, the NZNBL, and New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME) announced that two weekly NBL games will be livestreamed free of charge on NZHerald.co.nz throughout the 2016 season. In December 2016, NZME joined forces with Basketball New Zealand and Maori Television in a new media partnership for the 2017 season. NZME announced they would continue to build on the success of the 2016 live streaming in 2017 with at least two games a week to be livestreamed on NZHerald.co.nz, as well as all games during the Final Four weekend. In addition, Maori Television televised free to air live coverage of a NBL game every Sunday at 3 pm, and provided live coverage of the Final Four weekend. Maori Television also showed delayed coverage of a second game every week on a Saturday afternoon during the season.
In November 2019, the league announced that in 2020 all 75 games would be broadcast by Sky Sport, marking the first time in the league's four-decade history that every game would be made available to viewers across the nation.
In June 2020, the league secured a deal to broadcast live in the United States through ESPN.
List of Champions
|Team||Titles||Runners-up||Total||Year(s) won||Year(s) lost|
|Wellington Saints||11||8||19||1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2003, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019||1983, 1986, 1991, 2001, 2008, 2012, 2015, 2018|
|Auckland Stars||9||4||13||1982, 1983, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2005||1984, 1985, 1989, 2006|
|Canterbury Rams||4||4||8||1986, 1989, 1990, 1992||1987, 1993, 1994, 1999|
|Waikato Pistons||4||2||6||2001, 2002, 2008, 2009||2003, 2010|
|Nelson Giants||3||8||11||1994, 1998, 2007||1990, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2009, 2013|
|Southland Sharks||3||1||4||2013, 2015, 2018||2017|
|Hutt Valley Lakers||2||0||2||1991, 1993|
|Hawke's Bay Hawks||1||6||7||2006||1995, 2005, 2007, 2011, 2014, 2019|
|Harbour Heat||0||2||2||1988, 1998|
|Manawatu Jets||0||2||2||1992, 2020|
|Super City Rangers||0||1||1||2016|
- Most Valuable Player
- Finals MVP
- Coach of the Year
- Defensive Player of the Year
- Youth Player of the Year
- All-Star Five
- NZ Most Valuable Player
- Most Outstanding Guard
- Most Outstanding NZ Guard
- Most Outstanding Forward
- Most Outstanding NZ Forward/Centre
- Scoring Champion
- Rebounding Champion
- Assist Champion
- Best Team Free Throws
- National Basketball League (Australia)
- Conference Basketball League
- List of National Basketball League (New Zealand) awards
- New Zealand Tall Blacks
- Saker, John (5 September 2013). "Basketball". teara.govt.nz. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
- "Locations – Exodus Saints". Wotzon.com. Archived from the original on 9 February 2013.
- "AUCKLAND TO HOST 2020 SAL'S NBL, TIPPING OFF 23 JUNE". nznbl.basketball. 19 May 2020. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
- Cowles Stadium – Christchurch City Council
- Pirates out of 2013 NBL
- Waikato Pistons out of 2012 national league
- Waikato Pistons pull out of NBL competition
- NZ NBL AGREE TO THE RETURN OF MANAWATU JETS IN 2018
- NZ NBL MEDIA STATEMENT: THE RULING OF JOSHUA DUINKER’S ELIGIBILITY AND PLAYING STATUS IN THE NZ NBL
- THE NEW ZEALAND NBL TO BE BROADCAST LIVE AND FREE ON NZHERALD.CO.NZ
- Basketball: NZ Herald to live stream NZ NBL in 2017
- SKY TO BROADCAST EVERY SAL'S NBL GAME IN 2020
- "NZNBL: New Zealand National Basketball League". NZNBL. Retrieved 14 July 2020.