North Harbour’s Jeff Olsen has been elected as a life member of Basketball New Zealand at today’s Annual General Meeting.

Olsen was gracious when offering words of appreciation during his acceptance of the honour.

“To those who decided that I was worthy of this, a heartfelt thank you. I also recognise others who have gone before me and lining up behind, who equally love this sport, and work hard and long towards its betterment.”

Olsen first started playing basketball in 1964 whilst a student at Westlake Boys High School. Upon leaving school in 1966, Olsen immediately joined a local association team and got involved in refereeing and officiating.

It wasn’t long after that Jeff was invited to join the North Shore Associations committee and, apart from a short span when his children were born, he has been a member of the North Harbour committee/executive ever since. He also served as President, Secretary, and is a Life Member of North Harbour Basketball.

Olsen was a Basketball New Zealand Board member for eight years, 1978 to 1986.

As a player Jeff first represented a club team playing in what was known as the Pam Am Competition which was run at the Auckland YMCA over many years. During that time, he took the court with the first real wave of American imports including Coach Steve McKean and Bob South. He represented North Harbour from 1972 – 74 when it first became an affiliated association. The competition was then known as the New Zealand Men’s Minor Associations Tournament.

Olsen coached North Harbour age-group teams in mid 1970’s guided the North Shore Under 20 Men 1974 to their first championship.

Olsen was a Board Member of the North Shore Events Centre as the Basketball Representative from 1992 to 2018.

In 1993, Olsen received North Harbour Sports award for services to basketball. In 1999 he received the ‘Sir Lance Cross Memorial Award’ presented by Basketball New Zealand. In 2013, Olsen became a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to public and sport of basketball.

In 2018, Olsen retired to Mt Maunganui, but continues to commute to Auckland for meetings and in 2020 made himself available to assist the Tauranga Basketball Association on their executive committee.

In total Jeff has been involved in the sport for 57 years.