Australian and Sydney Uni Flames legend Trish Fallon and fellow retired superstar Luc Longley will have annual awards named after them to be presented at the Under 18’s and Under 16’s National Championships from this year.
Fallon and Longley will also be joined by Australian Pearls star Kim Larkin OAM, whose name will be embedded on the Fair Play Award at the Ivor Burge Championships for players with an intellectual disability from 2014.
Fair Play Awards were first presented in 2004 at the Under 14’s National Championships to recognise the teams that displayed outstanding sportsmanship – and were named after Australian Olympians Andrew Gaze and Jenny Cheesman.
Basketball Australia Chief Executive Officer Kristina Keneally said Basketball Australia was proud to honour Longley, Fallon and Larkin, acknowledging the lasting contribution each player has made to the game.
“Luc, Trish and Kim are outstanding basketball ambassadors and extremely fitting role models for our younger players competing in these championships,” Ms Keneally said.
“They are three athletes who have excelled in their sport both on and off the court – epitomising professionalism, humility, and everything that is good about our sport.”
Fallon was inducted into the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006 after playing 224 games for Australia and captaining the Opals 34 times. She competed in three Olympic Games, winning two silver and one bronze medal; and in two World Championships, winning a bronze medal in 2002.
Fallon was drafted to the WNBA, playing for the Phoenix Mercury, and also played in Europe on an off between 1994 and 2004, including as part of the 2003 Ros Casares Valencia team that won the Spanish Cup and Super Cup double. She was a scholarship holder at the AIS and competed in Australian U16, U18 and U20 National Championships. A two-time MVP in the WNBL, Fallon played 251 games for the Sydney Uni Flames.
Fallon continues to be heavily involved in the sport in her role as Community Operations Manager with the Southern Design Sydney Uni Flames and she was flattered to be asked to lend her name to such an important award – “Trish Fallon U16 Fair Play Award” – recognising not just athleticism but the qualities that make an athlete a team player.
“It’s a fantastic initiative and extremely important because at junior levels it’s not all about focusing on winning but on playing fair and working hard,” Fallon told Basketball Australia.
“Whether they win or lose, we should be teaching our kids to be playing the right way and I hope this award stands out among other awards as one coaches and parents encourage their kids to strive for.”
Longley, who will have the “Luc Longley U18 Fair Play Award” named after him– is a household name across the globe. He was the first Australian to play in the NBA, winning 3 titles with the Chicago Bulls alongside Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Toni Kukoc and Dennis Rodman.
Larkin, who currently plays in an open age domestic league and continues to be actively involved coaching members of the Australian Pearls squad, was delighted that fair play was being recognised and rewarded. The “Kim Larkin Fair Play Award” will exist after the 2014 Under 20 & Ivor Burge Championships in Western Australia.
The 2013 Under 18 Championships will be held from 20-27 April in Brisbane, followed by the U16 Championships from 6-13 July in Wayville, South Australia.