Tab Baldwin’s contribution to the growth of Kiwi basketball has been recognized with his induction into the New Zealand’s basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Fittingly, joining him in this year’s class is the 2002 Tall Blacks team.
Baldwin’s journey to becoming one of New Zealand’s most successful coaches began in 1988 when he arrived in the country after coaching in the States for five years.
He quickly established himself, taking Otago from the second division to the NBL, before moving to Auckland to guide the Auckland Stars to five titles in eight years.
Along the way, Baldwin was named NBL Coach of the Year four times, a testament to his coaching prowess.
However, it was on the international stage that Baldwin truly made his mark.
He took the reins of the national team in 2001 and immediately led them to victory over Australia to win the 2001 FIBA Oceania Championship.
This win propelled the Tall Blacks to the 2002 World Cup, where they enjoyed a stunning run to finish fourth, the highest-placed finish by an Oceania team at a FIBA event.
Baldwin’s achievements did not go unnoticed, and he was named Coach of the Year at the Halberg Awards in 2001 and 2002, cementing his place as one of the most successful coaches in New Zealand sporting history.
But Baldwin’s success didn’t stop there.
In 2004, he coached the Tall Blacks to a tenth-place finish at the Athens Olympics, before leading the team to silver medal success at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
Once again, his coaching prowess was fully displayed as the team recorded victories over Australia in 2004 and 2006. Baldwin then led the team to the quarter-finals of the 2006 FIBA World Championships, another impressive achievement.
Definitely, Baldwin left an indelible mark on the New Zealand basketball landscape, and his induction into the Hall of Fame is a fitting tribute to his legacy.