The Sal's NBL men's competition will celebrate its 40th year in 2021, making it one of New Zealand's longest running national sports leagues, and to celebrate the four-decade milestone the League will announce its best 40 players across that 40-year journey.
Tipping off in 1982, the NBL has been home to thousands of players from across New Zealand and around the world. Some have become a part of basketball folklore, some have gone on to enjoy success in many leagues globally (including the NBA), while many have delivered highlights and entertained fans with their talented exploits.
Selecting just 40 players will be an incredibly hard job, a task so difficult that NBL General Manager Justin Nelson wanted to ensure the panel of judges was at such a level of knowledge and experience that nobody could question the validity of the process.
"We wanted to find the best people to sit on this panel and we are very pleased with the six people who have agreed to take on this tough task," said Nelson.
"Trying to arrive at just forty players across such a long period of time is arguably one of the hardest things the League has been presented with, and it's important we get this right. There will always be someone who is unlucky to miss out when you're naming the best of anything, but I'm really pleased with the panel we have in place to take on this job."
The six panel members to select the 40 in 40 are Steve 'Coach' McKean, Nick Mills, Steve Fitchett, Keith Mair, Marc Hinton and Huw Beynon (Chair).
"We believe the panel represent the four decades really well. Each member comes with a certain strength in certain parts of that time span, which is really important," said Nelson.
"We want to make sure we have panel members who can talk about 1982 and 1983 just as much as people like Huw Beynon for example who has an extremely good knowledge of players across the most recent period of time."
The 40 in 40 panel will meet a number of times over the coming months to arrive at the final list. One of the very first tasks will be establishing the selection criteria, which the League hopes to announce next month.
The 'NBL Best 40 Players In 40 Years' will be announced during the 2021 season, which tips-off on Saturday April 23.