Nelson Giants

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Nelson Giants
Nelson Giants logo
Leagues National Basketball League
Founded 1982
History Nelson Giants
Arena Trafalgar Centre
Location Nelson, New Zealand
Team colors Navy blue & white
Main sponsor Mike Pero Real Estate
General manager Sharona Gordon
Head coach Tim Fanning
Ownership Nenad Vučinić
Championships 3 (1994, 1998, 2007)
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Home jersey
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Team colours
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Away jersey
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Team colours

The Nelson Giants are a New Zealand men's basketball team competing in the National Basketball League (NBL). They play their home games at the Trafalgar Centre in Nelson, and for sponsorship reasons, they are known as the Mike Pero Nelson Giants. The Giants have won the NBL championship three times in their history, in 1994, 1998 and 2007. They are the only remaining original team from the league's inaugural season, as all other teams have spent at least one year out of the league, for various reasons. Former Tall Blacks coach Nenad Vučinić is the owner and a former player, captain and coach of the Giants, winning championships as all four, the only person to do so.

Between 1982 and 2013, the Trafalgar Centre was the home of the Giants, but in early 2014, the venue was classified as earthquake prone.[1] This forced the Giants to move to nearby Saxton Stadium for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. The team returned to Trafalgar, or otherwise known as "the Hangar", for the 2016 season.[2]


The Giants were one of eight foundation teams for the inaugural season of the National Basketball League. While they struggled to make an impact over the first eight seasons, the Giants were led by import Frank Smith, Kenny Stone and Nenad Vučinić. By 1990, the Giants made their first grand final appearance, which resulted in a 76–73 loss to the Canterbury Rams.[3]

The mid-1990s marked the beginning of Giants' halcyon days, as they played in seven grand finals between 1994 and 2004 and won two titles during that time, in 1994 and 1998. This era also marked the emergence of one of the greatest Giants of all-time, Phill Jones. Jones is a four-time Kiwi MVP, two-time Most Outstanding Guard, six-time Most Outstanding Kiwi Guard, and in 2016, he became the first player in NBL history to reach 400 games.[4]

In 2007, import swingman Josh Pace helped lead the Giants to their third league title with an MVP season.[5] 2007 also marked the final year of Ed Book's career.[6] The Giants, made two more grand final appearances in 2009 and 2013, both ending in runner-up finishes.

Current roster[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team eligibility at FIBA sanctioned events. Players may hold other non-FIBA nationality not displayed.

Nelson Giants roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Nat. Name Ht.
F 5 New Zealand Delany, Finn 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in)
G 6 New Zealand Granger, Alistair 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
7 New Zealand Bensemann, Riley
G 8 New Zealand Kenny, Jarrod 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
G 9 New Zealand Ingham, Tom 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
G/F 10 New Zealand Dempster, Sam (C) 1.92 m (6 ft 4 in)
11 New Zealand Black, Matt
G 13 New Zealand Jones, Phill 1.96 m (6 ft 5 in)
G/F 18 United States Cowels, Raymond (I) 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)
F 19 New Zealand Trathen, Nic
F 26 New Zealand Beri, Bronson 2.04 m (6 ft 8 in)
C 32 United States Strong, Ben (I) 2.11 m (6 ft 11 in)
88 New Zealand Lindbom, Jordan
Head coach
  • United States Tim Fanning
Assistant coach(es)
  • New Zealand Brendon Bailey
  • New Zealand Dave Singleton

  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Development player
  • (I) Import player
  • Injured Injured

Updated: 16 April 2016


External links[edit]