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Kirk Penney joins FIBA Hall Of Fame

Kirk Penney has been announced into the 2024 Class of FIBA Hall of Fame
Kiwi Penney was a mainstay of the Tall Blacks playing 179 times and has been announced into the 2024 Class of FIBA Hall of Fame PHOTO: FIBA

One of New Zealand’s most accomplished Tall Blacks, Kirk Penney, has been announced into the 2024 Class of the FIBA Hall of Fame.

The FIBA Hall of Fame is a shrine dedicated to athletes and coaches who have built the foundations of the global sport of basketball since its birth; honouring great men and women who have been outstanding in the improvement and development of the sport around the globe.

Penney emerged out of Westlake Boys High School, then going on to play at the University of Wisconsin. He first suited up for the Tall Blacks game in 1999 as an 18-year-old.


Penney went on to make 179 appearances for the Tall Blacks, scoring over 2,000 points for New Zealand at international level and developing a reputation as a dominating scorer and outside shooter.

He appeared in two Olympics for New Zealand - 2000 in Sydney and 2004 in Athens – as well as multiple FIBA competitions around the world.

Penney captained New Zealand to a gold medal at the 2009 FIBA Oceania Championship over Australia with averages of 23.5ppg, 6.5rpg and 7apg.

But it is at the World Cup level – the pinnacle event for basketball athletes – that Kirk has truly made his mark. As the only player to appear in four World Cups for New Zealand, Kirk has featured in four consecutive World Championships between 2002 and 2014.

He was part of the Tall Blacks' memorable 2002 World Championships campaign as they finished fourth; scoring 16.9ppg while hitting 45.5% from beyond the arc.

At the 2010 World Championships in Turkey he opened with 37 against basketball powerhouse Lithuania; going on to be the second highest scorer in the entire tournament with 24.7ppg.

In 27 games played at FIBA World Cup level, Penney currently ranks fifth all-time in three pointers made with 60, six all-time in free throws made (97), seventh all-time in field goals made (145) and the twelfth leading scorer of all-time (447).

In joining teammate Pero Cameron as only the second New Zealander to ever be inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame, Penney says it is an honour and privilege.

“It’s an incredible honour for me, and probably more than anything it’s a testament to all the hard work by a great group pf people. We took enormous pride in carrying the kiwi flag around the world,” says Penney.

“We shared some amazing experiences over the years and I think I was truly blessed to play with a couple of generations of really good New Zealand basketball players - and to be a part of building a foundation for future New Zealand basketball success. This honour brings back a boat load of incredible memories on the global stage with great people.”

Some of his favourite memories have come on basketball’s biggest stage; not just the on-court success but with the comradery and mindset of the teams he was a part of.

“Playing in the Olympics games is so special, we’ve been able to play in a couple of them and it was really neat – something that we’ll never forget.

“Being able to compete in the semi-finals in 2002 [at the FIBA World Champs] will always stand as an incredible achievement. That team was a very special team; positionally we had all the bases covered and we had a courageous mindset.

“Any time we took down a high-level global team was really satisfying; it was always important to all of us that any time we went to a World Cup or an Olympics, that we went through to at least the knock-out stages; we weren’t just a team attending, but we were there to compete to try and win it all. Even though no one would’ve expected it from us.

“We always felt like we could play with the best, compete with them and be in a position to win it at the end of games. That was a mentality that took years to mould; previously the Tall Blacks had played in one World Cup, so we had to stand on the shoulders of those before us and trailblazer a bit with that group – I think we did a great job carving a path for that next generation.”

Looking ahead to the Tall Black’s Olympic Qualifiers campaign in July, Penney says that the Tall Blacks athletes have a chance to create history for New Zealand by qualifying for the Paris Olympics.

“I would hope there’s a lot of belief in this current group, I haven’t been around the team too much but I obviously know the people well who are spearheading it from a coaching standpoint.

“Considering this year’s FIBA Olympic Qualifying tournament, we have a huge challenge ahead of us, we want to be in the best possible form in a couple of months.”

“I wish the team the best and hope they play with incredible intensity - and play smart – to put themselves in a position to win. It’s not an easy pool with Slovenia and Croatia; these qualifying tournaments are incredibly difficult to play in as there’s so much on the line.

But we’ve proven in recent years that we’ve been in games – especially early on – and it’s about us maintaining leads and doing the little things really well, getting the fundamentals right and believing we can win.”

Kirk says he was overwhelmed with joy when he first was called to represent the Tall Blacks in 1999.

“Being called to represent my country, to wear the black jersey on behalf of New Zealand, has always been important to me. Those I played with always wanted to answer that call and we were proud of the honour that had been bestowed upon us.”

“There’s no higher honour for your country as a sportsperson, although professionalism has shifted mindsets it’s always something an athlete will look back on with immense pride after their career. I hope that every young Kiwi baller has aspirations of putting on that black jersey, it’s an incredible feeling.”

Penney will officially be enshrined in the FIBA Hall of Fame later this year, travelling to Singapore on 14 September for the Enshrinement Ceremony. He will join six other players - including NBA stars Reggie Miller and Peja Stojakovic - and a coach, who are all being formally recognised for their outstanding contributions to basketball.


Kirk Penney - FIBA Career (1999-2014)

1999 William Jones Cup (Champions)

2000 Olympic Games

2001 Goodwill Games

2002 FIBA World Championship

2004 Olympic Games

2005 FIBA Oceania Championship, 2nd place (Silver)

2006 FIBA World Championship

2007 Stanković Cup

2007 FIBA Oceania Championship, 2nd place (Silver)

2008 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament

2009 FIBA Oceania Championship, 1st place (Gold)

2010 FIBA World Championship

2011 Stanković Cup, 1st place (Gold)

2011 FIBA Oceania Championship, 2nd place (Silver)

2014 FIBA World Championship


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