SHOALHAVEN basketball legend John Martin has been honoured by basketball’s governing body, FIBA (Federation International Basketball Association).
Martin, who is a life member of Shoalhaven Basket-ball, the Barrengarry Conf-erence, Basketball NSW and Basketball Australia, has received a rare new honour.
Currently in Istanbul, Turkey taking part in the 19th edition of the world congress, Martin has been awarded the Radomir Shaper award for his dedication to the FIBA Technical Commission.
It is given to those individuals who have distinguished themselves in the field of basketball rules.
Staged alongside the world championships the conference is where FIBA’s 213 member national federations meet.
Martin was totally surprised when notified by FIBA that he had taken out the prestigious award.
The first Australian to win the coveted award had no idea he had even been nominated.
“I was gobsmacked when notified that I had won the award and had to go to the World Conference in Turkey to accept the award,” he said.
Currently working for Basketball NSW as a senior advisor and consultant, Martin is the chairman of the Basketball Australia technical commission for championships and is a referee commissioner in NBL and WNBL.
“I have no idea who even nominated me,” he said.
“It could be through Oceania or Basketball Australia or someone on FIBA’s technical committee itself.
“It is a huge honour – Shaper was a long time member and president of the FIBA technical commission and is credited with having a significant impact on the technical evolution of the game.
“I think it’s only been awarded four times before and there are some pretty influential men in the sport ahead of me.
“They are all heavies of the technical commission on FIBA including a great mate Valentin Lazarov, who was actually the first man to receive the award.
“I worked closely with him at the Sydney Olympics and also at the ‘98 women’s world championships in Germany.
“I looked up to all the previous winners, they are all exceptional people and have each made contributions at the highest levels.
“To win this is amazing, honestly I’d never even thought about it – it was a huge surprise.”
As well as accepting his award at the conference, Martin is also taking in the men’s world championships including the quarter, semi and finals.
He will then undertake a 14-day tour of Turkey before heading on to Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic where the James Bond movie Casino Royale was made to watch the quarter-final, semis and finals of the Women’s World Championships.
“I’ll be keeping an eye on referees and watching what’s new, any new trends, things that they do differently that we may be able to incorporate into our game back here in Australia and filter it down even as far as Shoalhaven basketball,” he said.
A former general manager of Basketball NSW (1998-2009), Martin’s association with the sport goes way back to 1961 where he started a competition in Moree with a couple of friends.
He moved to the Shoalhaven in 1966 and acted as the Shoalhaven Association secretary for 19 years, during which time he was also a teacher at Nowra High School.
In 1985 he resigned from the Education Department to work fulltime for Basketball NSW as a country and referee development officer, working his way up to the top job of general manager.