Basketball New Zealand has created courtside signage to help promote positive support from the sidelines.

Basketball New Zealand Chief Executive, Iain Potter, says the organisation has experienced a few examples of poor behaviour that takes away from what is largely a positive grassroots experience for the players and volunteers.

“Poor sideline behaviour is something that many sports in New Zealand struggle with and basketball is no exception. There are people who show up to our events and act like their child or their child’s team are playing in the NBA. They forget grassroots basketball is about having fun.

“Their warped sense of support not only makes themselves look ridiculous, it often embarrasses their children and can suppress the good that comes from these events. It is especially disappointing when people deride the opposition and our volunteers from the sidelines, including the referees. Basketball is kept afloat by volunteers. They give their time to provide the opportunity to play, for kids, teenagers and social sport leagues at the adult level. They deserve our respect and appreciation.

“We want people to remember what grassroots is about. Amongst other things it includes fostering community spirit, teaching our young ones how to win and lose with integrity, about goal-setting and working hard, resilience, respecting rules, being a reliable team-mate and, most importantly, having fun,” says Potter.

The signage will be posted around Basketball New Zealand’s many community tournaments and events, plus the design files are available to any of the member Associations who want to get signs printed for their community events in the regions.

One of the first events that the ‘#LetThemPlay’ signage will be displayed at will be the Schick Championships, with secondary schools throughout New Zealand convening in Palmerston North next week to compete for the National Championship titles.