First team to be inducted into the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame

The 2006 FIBA World Cup champions will be recognised ahead of the Opals match against China on Friday at John Cain Arena.

The 2006 FIBA World Cup champions will this week become the first team inducted into the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame.

Coached by Jan Stirling, the star-studded team featuring the likes of Penny Taylor, Lauren Jackson and Kristi Harrower became the first Australian team to win a senior international basketball medal when it defeated Russia in Brazil 18 years ago.

The team will be recognised at a cocktail function in Melbourne on Friday July 5 ahead of the Opals match against China which will complete the Ford BALLIN’24 event at John Cain Arena.

CJ Bruton, Matthew Nielsen, Bradley Ness, Sharon Arnold, Belinda Snell and Suzy Batkovic form the Class of 2024 inductees.

The Australian Basketball Hall of Fame features three divisions – Basketball Australia, NBL and WNBL – and inductees can be recognised in more than one division.

A two-time Olympian and five-time NBL champion, CJ Bruton will join his father Cal Bruton in the Hall of Fame becoming just the second father-son duo after Lindsay and Andrew Gaze.

A former Boomers captain and NBL championship-winning captain, Matthew Nielsen will be recognised for his efforts domestically, extensively throughout Europe and for his nation.

Widely considered one of the best wheelchair basketballers in the world, Bradley Ness’ career which was headlined by five Paralympic Games, and featured a gold and two silver medals plus two World Cup crowns will be honoured.

A trailblazing referee who made history as the first woman to officiate in the NBL and a Paralympic gold medal match, the late Sharon Arnold will be honoured for her incredible contribution to the sport.

It will be a double celebration for Belinda Snell, who was a key member of the Opals 2006 World Cup title. Her decorated career also featured three Olympic medals, a WNBA title, three WNBL championships and five titles in Europe.

A triple Olympic medallist and two-time World Cup representative who also played in the WNBA and Europe, Suzy Batkovic had such a profound impact on the WNBL winning five MVP titles that the award is now named in her honour.

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