Former NBA players takeover NZ Breakers

26 February 2018

Long time club owners and directors Paul and Liz Blackwell have announced that a newly formed company, Breakers Basketball Ltd, will take control of the club from March 1st, on the eve of the club's NBL semi-final against top qualifiers Melbourne United.

The consortium is headed by former NBA player Matt Walsh, along with several business partners including Romie Chaudhari, a part-owner and director of Swansea City, with Walsh also a shareholder of the EPL club.

The other partners Adam Goodman, Dan Katz and former NBA all-star and NBA champion Shawn Marion.

The Blackwells will stay on at the club they have owned for 13 years, as minority shareholders, with Paul Blackwell retaining his seat on the Board.

Marion enjoyed an illustrious career in the NBA, winning the 2010/11 NBA Championship alongside Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki at the Dallas Mavericks, as well as being an All-Star and likely future Hall of Fame inductee.

Matt Walsh will take a hands-on role in leading the club into the next phase of its development, with a strong focus on the commercial activities of the four-time championship winning club. He will relocate from the United States to work out of the club's Auckland headquarters.

Walsh was signed by NBA team Miami in 2005, playing two games before heading to Europe where he enjoyed a successful 10-year playing career that delivered championships in some of the top leagues in the region, including Germany, Turkey and Belgium.

Since retiring in 2015, Walsh has turned his hand to business with a focus on sports club ownership, holding interests in Swansea City in the EPL and second division team Loudoun United.

Walsh and his cohort of business partners have for some time been looking at basketball opportunities in the Australian League, and like what they see in the Breakers on and off court.

"We were attracted to the club for a number of reasons, they clearly know how to win on the court, with eight playoff appearances in the last 11 years, five grand finals and four championships," said Walsh.

"But our main interest was in the amazing culture that the Blackwell's and others have built over that time, combined with the growth of basketball in New Zealand and being located in the world class city of Auckland."

Walsh said the focus for the future is about growing the commercial side of the business, at a time when the NBL is growing and gaining in reputation.

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Radio New Zealand | 12:20 pm on 26 February 2018