Basketball Australia today announced that Hall of Fame inductee Andrew Gaze AM OLY has been elevated to legend status, one of only six Australians to receive the highest honour in the sport.
He is one of the greatest basketball players Australia has produced competing in five Olympic games (1984, 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000). He played 297 matches representing his country, captained the Boomers for eight years and achieved fourth place at the 1988, 1996 and 2000 Olympics, Australia’s highest results until Tokyo 2020.
Gaze is best known to Australians as the Olympic flag-bearer in Sydney where he led his country out in front of an ecstatic home crowd and became the third basketball player to compete at five Olympics. He remains the second all-time leading scorer at the Olympic games with 789 points.
Gaze played in four FIBA World Cups between 1986 and 1998, he remains the third-highest scorer of all time with 594 points.
Upon retiring from international basketball in 2000, Gaze continued his playing career at the NBL where he started as a rookie with the Melbourne Tigers in 1984 and went on to be the League’s top scorer for 14 seasons. A dual NBL Champion (1993 and 1997), he was named the NBL MVP seven times, 11 x NBL All-Star and selected in the NBL First Team an incredible 15 times (1986-2000). He set the record for points scored (18,212) and assists (3427) across his 578 games played in the national league. The NBL season MVP award is also named after him.
While Gaze will always be known in Australia for his Olympic and NBL careers he is remembered in the USA for leading Seton Hall University to the NCAA final against Michigan in 1989 and his two stints in the NBA with the Washington Bullets and the San Antonio Spurs.
Dr Adrian Hurley OAM who coached Andrew at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics and the 1986 and 1990 FIBA World Championships said,
“The name Andrew Gaze is synonymous with basketball in Australia ever since he emerged on the world stage as a teenager at the 1984 Olympic Games. In the ensuing years, he performed at the highest levels all around the world and has become a world-recognised figure in basketball. His achievements in the NBL, with the Boomers, in Europe, in US College basketball and in the NBA ensure that he will always be regarded as one of the greats of the game worldwide.
“Andrew is a leader, and this was recognised when he was the flag bearer for the Australian Olympic team at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. He is the epitome of the “good guy”. His effervescent personality, positive humour, and empathy for his fellow players and the public at large, stamp him as an exemplary human being. His elevation to Legend status in the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame is due recognition as a great of our game.”
Basketball Australia Chairman, John Carey said,
“I don’t think legend status could be bestowed on a person who has given more to the sport than Andrew. He has inspired thousands of kids to pick up a ball and play. He is one of the most admired ambassadors for not only basketball but sport in general. Andrew is, without doubt, a national treasure who will proudly sit beside his father as one of the most influential basketball figures in Australia’s history. It is an honour to bestow legend status to Andrew.”
Chicago Bulls three-peat Champion, three-time Olympian and teammate of Gaze, Luc Longley said,
“I knew Andrew Gaze by the code name ‘The Factor’. And that he was. As his teammate with the national team spanning 22 years, he lived up to his name without fail. His ability to get it done every night and find ways to score when others couldn’t was consistent with greatness.
“In an era when Australian basketball was finding its feet internationally, ‘The Factor’ was our spearhead and foundation. When you had Andrew on your team you always felt like you were in the game, and he kept us in lots and won us even more.
“I took special delight watching confounded weary Euro and US defenders who had misjudged him badly during the pre-game eye test.
“’The Factor’ was a legend as far as I was concerned and I’m proud to see it recognised. Now that he’s not the Factor anymore I might just start calling him Legend.”
Australian basketball Hall of Fame Legend, Andrew Gaze said,
“I am beyond honoured to be elevated to legend status. To follow in my father’s footsteps is a dream I never dared to imagine. I am eternally indebted and grateful for the opportunities the game has provided me and my family. I am acutely aware that the recognition I have received would not be possible without the support and guidance of my teammates and coaches.
“Thanks to the awards committee for their support. I am humbled that the selection committee feel I am worthy to sit alongside some of the great contributors of the game.”
Alongside past and present icons of the game, Basketball Australia will celebrate Gaze’s achievements and Legend elevation during the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers, set to be hosted at John Cain Arena in Melbourne from June 30- July 4. The Hall of Fame event on July 1 will precede the international basketball double-header between China v Chinese Taipei and then Japan v Australia.
Tickets for FIBA World Cup Qualifiers are available at Ticketek.
Basketball Australia Legends
Alistair Ramsay MBE OAM (dec)
Betty Watson OAM
John Raschke OAM
Lindsay Gaze OAM OLY
Michele Timms OAM OLY
Andrew Gaze AM OLY