Ray Strickland has been presented with one of Basketball New Zealand’s most prestigious awards – the Sir Lance Cross Award for ‘Exceptional Services to Basketball’.
The award was made at a ceremony at the Miramar Golf Club in Wellington, and attended by many of Mr Strickland’s family, close friends, basketball New Zealand Board member Mike Zino, and Brendon Polyblank and Kirk Mariner from the Wellington Basketball Association. The private ceremony was held due to this year’s awards postponement because of COVID-19, and also for health reasons. The golf club acted as an appropriate venue – golf is Strickland’s second sporting passion.
Mr Strickland is highly deserving of this award after a lifetime commitment to the game of basketball having been involved as a player, coach and as an administrator within the game He started his basketball journey as a player in 1957 playing for St Patrick’s College, Wellington. This was followed by playing club basketball for the Marist Club as well as playing representative basketball for Wellington at both age group and senior levels. He also traveled to the United Kingdom for work where he played for the London Latvian Sports Club.
An injury shortened his playing career, so he turned his attention to coaching and developing other players. Over a thirty year period from 1964 to 1994, Mr Strickland coached the Wellington Women’s Representative team, the Marist Club team (winners of the Inaugural National Club Championships), Saint Patrick’s College and the Wellington U16 Boys’ Rep Team (winning the U16 National Championships).
Probably his most influential impact on the game was his contribution through both governance and administrative roles. He has been a Board Member and President for the Wellington Basketball Association, a member of the Saints Committee, Chairperson for Capital Basketball Ltd and Board member and Chairperson for the New Zealand National Basketball League. During his time, he also fulfilled the role as the League’s General Manager, making some significant and trailblazing decisions, some of which still influence the game today.
Long-time friend of Ray’s, Terry Orchard, who was at the ceremony says Mr Strickland’s devotion to the game has benefited many others.
“The love, passion, dedication, foresight, inspiration and leadership that Ray brought to basketball has been clearly demonstrated over the forty plus years he was involved. Not only has his contribution changed basketball’s landscape, but he has been instrumental in changing the lives of people he encountered within the sport”.
Mr Strickland lives with his wife in Miramar. We thank them both for their volunteerism and commitment to basketball over many years, and congratulate Mr Strickland upon receiving this award.