Held on October 27 in Melbourne at Aerial in South Wharf, the Awards night brings together Australian basketball greats to acknowledge the highest achievements of both past and present.
Induction into the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame is one of the highest honours in our sport and this year, Ken Madsen (Contributor), Carrie Graf (Coach) as well as Karen Blicavs (nee Ogden), Kristi Harrower and Lucille Bailie (Players) will be honoured with Troy Sachs requesting his induction to be deferred for one year.
Involved in basketball in this country for over 50 years, Madsen began his career as a referee before acting as Chair of the Queensland Basketball Referees Association as well as Chair of the NBL Tribunal for 22 seasons.
He served as the Basketball Australia (BA) Treasurer, representing BA on FIBA commissions while playing a delegate role on national tours and World Championships as well as Chairing the BA Honours and Awards Commission for fourteen years to earn life membership with BA and Basketball Queensland.
Harrower first tasted success when she won the Youth World Championships in 1993 which was Australia’s first ever international gold medal and she went on to play 296 games for her country.
The point guard claimed three silver medals with the Opals at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games as well as a bronze medal at the 1998 World Championships, a silver in 2002 as captain and a gold medal at the 2006 World Championships in Brazil.
Abroad, she was a two-time WNBA Champion and an All-Star in Europe while she sits as one of the greatest WNBL players of all time, courtesy of three Championships (1994 with Adelaide as well as 2013 and 2014 with Bendigo), a Defensive Player of the Year award (2013) and seven nominations to the All-Star Five.
Bailie sits equal-second on the all-time list for games played in the WNBL with 377, winning titles in 1989 as a member of Nunawading and 2002 and 2003 with the UC Capitals.
In 1988, she was named the Youth Player of the Year and eventually earned Life Membership of the league while internationally, Bailie won a bronze medal with the Australian Gems at the 1989 Under-19 World Championships and also represented the Opals at the 1990 World Champs.
Blicavs was a dominant player in club basketball in Victoria and when the WNBL was installed in 1981, she became one of the competition’s first stars as she won the first two Championships with the St. Kilda Saints as well as the first two MVP awards.
Playing 130 games in the WNBL, Blicavs also was a member of the Opals teams that played in the 1980 Olympic qualification tournament and the 1983 World Championships.
Graf carved out a spectacular career at both WNBL and international level, coaching the Opals for 156 games as an assistant where she helped them to a bronze medal at the 1996 Olympics, another bronze at the 1998 World Championships and a silver at the 2000 Olympics before being appointed head coach in 2010 for 56 games which included a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics.
In 1993, she claimed her first WNBL Championship with the Sydney Flames before creating a dynasty with the Canberra Capitals, winning the title in 2000, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010 while also being named the Coach of the Year in 2007 and 2008 and finishing as the league’s all-time winning coach with over 200 victories.
In addition, four International Player of the Year awards will also be restored and honoured at the Awards night this year.
The Gaze Family Medal is awarded to the most outstanding member of the Australian Boomers, the Maher Family Medal to the most outstanding member of the Opals while the Sandy Blythe Medal and Sue Hobbs Medal are awarded to the outstanding members of the Australian Rollers and Gliders respectively.
The 2017 Australian Basketball Hall of Fame Class:
Lucille Bailie (nee Hamilton)
Karen Blicavs (nee Ogden)
Carrie Graf AM