NBA

Basketball NZ finds its ‘game changer’ in NBA pioneer Chelsea Lane

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Chelsea Lane worked closely with NBA great Stephen Curry during his time with the Golden State Warriors.

Noah Graham

Chelsea Lane worked closely with NBA great Stephen Curry during his time with the Golden State Warriors.

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Basketball New Zealand believes it has found a “game changer” in NBA Kiwi trailblazer Chelsea Lane to lead its high performance programme.

Lane, born in Australia but now a proud Kiwi, was unveiled as the organization’s new high performance chief on Tuesday, succeeding the late Leonard King. The former physio, who moved to New Zealand in the early 2000s to join the Sports Academy structure, played prominent roles with the Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks in the NBA where she worked with players like Steph Curry. , Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Trae Young.

She was part of two NBA championships during her three years with the Warriors (2015-18) and has the rings to show for it. She also spent three breakthrough years with the Hawks (2018-21) before deciding to return to New Zealand with her husband to pursue opportunities in that part of the world.

Basketball NZ chief executive Dillon Boucher has described the addition of Lane, who will take over next month, as a “coup” for the organization as it seeks to cash in on the surge in popularity among young people and to continue to grow as a nation that hits hard. above its weight on the international scene.

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“Lane is a game changer for our high performance program,” Boucher said. “She brings a wealth of international experience, as well as a holistic player-focused mentality that we believe will help elevate our national teams to a new level.

“Chelsea’s unique skills will help us get the most out of our athletes, staff and high performance programs.”

Lane’s resume is certainly impressive, as is his ability to carve out new territory in an NBA ranking league.

Chelsea Lane takes care of NBA superstar Kevin Durant during the 2017 NBA Western Conference playoffs.

Getty Images

Chelsea Lane takes care of NBA superstar Kevin Durant during the 2017 NBA Western Conference playoffs.

After working as a performance therapist at the Sports Academy and then transitioning into working with national team athletes through High Performance Sport NZ, she moved to the United States in 2015 to start in a performance therapy role with the Warriors.

She was quickly promoted to performance manager at Golden State and oversaw the championships in 2017 and 2018, before being recruited by the Hawks as performance manager (and eventually team vice president) to lead a reconstruction of their development program.

“I loved the Hawks and being in Atlanta, but I had been through a lot of turmoil there in the States and when Covid started to disrupt the world…a few family things lined up and that decision to move became possible, we found ourselves here,” she said.

Lane said she learned a lot in several areas working with the elite performers and their championship mentality at the Warriors.

“It was culturally a huge change for me. I was the only non-American in the Warriors leadership group and the only woman; in fact, I became the first woman in the NBA to play a role like this in its 75-year history.

“The learning curve got even steeper at the Hawks, but I had great support in a massive role.”

Basketball NZ High Performance Boss Chelsea Lane:

basketball new zealand

Basketball NZ high performance boss Chelsea Lane: “I’m here to win, but winning is just one measure of success.”

She says that when the role with Basketball NZ came up, “it was like the stars were aligned… I thought to myself, ‘I can really help here – I think I can help'”.

Lane believes her background as a physical therapist and performance therapist, combined with her experience in the NBA, puts her in a unique position to contribute to the high performance space.

“I’m here to win, but winning is only one measure of success. There are many ways to look at how HP can succeed, so if we focus on those multi-faceted successes and the “humanity” part, then success can come in a more sustainable way.

Her challenge, she says, is to build on the positive work under King and the wave of participation and “take it to the next level.”

“Our end goal is to deliver great results for the nation…it starts with refining the bespoke needs that athletes need to perform at each level, and how each group of talented players can progress to the next level.

“In top-level sport, it is the outliers – the freaks of nature – who outperform and outperform. So, the smaller the population, the fewer outliers you have. For us in basketball, it has to be about playing to our strengths; play the game to serve us on a global level and we need to make sure that these outliers are well taken care of, that we develop them as full athletes and take care of their body and mind, so that they can have a long career.

“These are our diamonds, and we have to take care of them.”

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