In Ron Harvey, basketball was fortunate to find a man whose commitment to the sport would be hard to match over 50 years as a player, coach and administrator at the highest level.
Born in Subiaco, Harvey was a representative player in his youth before he made the move to Canberra in the 1960’s where he was involved in the establishment of the Canberra Cannons as one of the NBL’s original ten teams.
Harvey’s forward thinking and ability to conduct real change administratively was proven in 1967 when he led the successful effort to set up Basketball ACT as a governing body separate from Basketball NSW.
While building a successful career in the Commonwealth Public Service which included the appointment of principal private secretary under Malcolm Fraser and positions within the National Economic Summit and National Tax Summit under Bob Hawke, Harvey retained several leadership roles within the ACT basketball community, eventually awarded Life Membership of ACT Basketball in 1980.
His connection with the Cannons extended into the 1980’s as between 1981-1986, he was the club’s Chairman and General Manager.
In that position, Harvey built one of the NBL’s first commercial powerhouses alongside Terry Ryan and Bob Turner and when he moved into the NBL Chairman role in 1983, a role he held for four years, he was responsible for initiatives that secured the future financial success of the league.
In conjunction with his role as President of Basketball Australia (1982-86), Harvey maintained a positive relationship between the organisation and the NBL, leading the league into one of its most successful era’s while he remained connected with the NBL through his position as CEO of the Gold Coast Cougars from 1989-1991.
Recognised nationally for his service to basketball, Harvey took up a role as the third Director of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in 1987 and subsequently became chief executive of the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) when the government combined the AIS and the ASC into one body a few years later.
He then joined the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) Board in 1993 before being named the Vice President in 2001, helping to organise the Australian leg of the Beijing Olympic Games torch relay in 2008.
His significant contribution to the Olympic movement in Australia as a board member of the Australian Olympic Foundation led him to become Basketball Australia’s (BA) nominee to the AOC for the next 20 years and in 2001, he was awarded Life Membership of BA.
In addition to that Life Membership and his induction into the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame, Harvey was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia in 1999 for his service to the promotion of basketball and Life Membership of the AOC in 2013.
He was also awarded the Australian Sports Medal in 2000 and the Centenary Medal in 2001 for his contribution to Australian society before becoming the first Australian to be awarded the International Olympic Committee’s Pierre de Coubertin medal in recognition to his contribution to the promotion of the Olympic spirit.
Purchase your tickets for one of Australian basketball’s most prestigious nights as Ron Harvey is inducted alongside six other athletes, coaches and contributors here.
The 2016 Australian Basketball Hall of Fame Class:
Perry Crosswhite AM
Liesl Tesch AM
Patrick Hunt AM
Ron Harvey CVO AM
Ken Watson BEM