Sir Lance Cross was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016 for his contribution to basketball and is also the name behind one of Basketball New Zealand’s longest standing awards – the Sir Lance Cross Award for exceptional services to basketball.
Sir Cross started his basketball career in 1931 while working for the YMCA, and by 1933 was the YMCA’s physical education director. From 1936 to 1939 he was a physical education specialist at Hamilton Technical School. He represented New Zealand and was president of the New Zealand Men’s Basketball Association from its foundation in 1946 until 1971. He was also coach of the national team and he served as a Vice President of the International Amateur Basketball Federation.
From 1939 Sir Cross worked as a physical welfare officer for the Department of Internal Affairs, initially in Palmerston North and then later in Wellington. In this capacity he helped to lay down the principles of physical education in schools, inculcating in New Zealand youth the worth of star-jumps, press-ups and other forms of activity on wintry school mornings.
During the Second World War he spent three years as a physical education and recreational training officer, first in the Air Training Corps and then in the Royal New Zealand Air Force. He was Chairman of the New Zealand Olympic Committee, and was also Head of Sports Broadcasting for the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation.
In 1969, he became a member of the New Zealand’s International Olympic Committee, a position he held for 20 years. Sir Cross was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, for services to sports administration, in the 1973 New Year Honours. He was promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1977 New Year Honours, for services to sport as a member of the International Olympic Committee and Chairman of the New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association. He was appointed a Knight Bachelor for services to sport in the 1984 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
The award was accepted on Sir Cross’ behalf by his daughter Pamela Meekings-Stewart.