Today marks an historic day in Australian basketball as Lindsay Gaze is inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Joining such illustrious names like Michael Jordan and Bill Russell and inducted alongside Dikembe Mutombo and referee Dick Bavetta among others, Gaze will be the first Australian to have his name enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
He was selected as one of five direct elect members after being chosen by the International Committee.
Born in Adelaide in 1936, Gaze is one of Australia’s most accomplished basketballers on the world stage, competing in three Olympics as a player and a further four as coach.
He averaged just under ten points a game in the 1960, 1964 and 1968 Olympic Games and was a part of the first Australian basketball team to travel overseas when they competed in the ’60 Rome Olympics.
Although known predominantly as a coach, Gaze’s ability on the court was showcased at the 1962 World Championships where he was selected as a member of the All-Star five.
Without missing an Olympics, Gaze transitioned into the coaching role thanks in part to his incredible work ethic that saw him develop a reputation as a fanatical trainer.
In Munich in 1972, Australia finished ninth but recorded an impressive win over Brazil before finishing eighth at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
With continued improvement, the Boomers classified seventh in 1980 in Moscow and sixth at the 1984 Los Angeles Games where he teamed up with his son, Andrew.
In non-Olympic years, Gaze also led his country at World Championships in 1974, ’78 and ’82 before returning home permanently as head coach of the Melbourne Tigers when they debuted in 1983 in the National Basketball League (NBL).
There, he helped create a dynasty over 22 seasons and 689 games. In that time, the Tigers won two championships in 1993 and 1997 while Gaze earned three Coach of the Year awards before finishing with a 53% win rate.
Gaze now has received the proper recognition worldwide that he deserves after previously being inducted into the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame in 2004 and FIBA Hall of Fame in 2010 in which he and his son are the only Australian representatives.