Abercrombie buzzing at chance to meet Bolt

MARC HINTON
Last updated 10:22 15/09/2012
Tom Abercrombie
BEN WATSON/Fairfax NZ
SLAM DUNK: Breakers star Tom Abercrombie.

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Basketball

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The finest athlete in Kiwi hoops can't wait to meet the greatest athlete on the planet - a get-together now imminent thanks to a dazzling new sponsorship deal secured by the threepeat-chasing NZ Breakers.

The Breakers yesterday unveiled a high-level partnership with iconic sports drink brand Gatorade via parent company Frucor, and immediately the deal came with a rather special kicker.

Jamaican six-time Olympic gold medal athlete Usain Bolt will be in New Zealand to launch the new partnership with a special appearance with the back-to-back Australian NBL champions in Auckland on October 8.

Breakers star Thomas Abercrombie, widely hailed as the finest athlete the Kiwi game has produced, yesterday said he was pumped about meeting the fastest man on earth and soaking up whatever advice he had to offer.

"Usain Bolt is the greatest athlete in the world and the things he's been able to do at the Olympics have been incredible," said Abercrombie.

"When we heard this morning we were going to get the chance to meet him, and maybe see some of his athleticism on the basketball court, everybody was pretty excited."

Abercrombie said he'd heard that the Jamaican sprint sensation, who has expressed interest in playing football for Manchester United, had genuine hops and could more than hold his own on the basketball court. The Kiwi leaping sensation hoped to find out for himself just how far those talents stretched.

"I've heard he's pretty good, and that he doesn't have too many problems dunking the basketball or getting up and down the court. I'm sure the athlete he is, he's pretty capable of playing any sport he puts his mind to."

Abercrombie, meanwhile, confirmed he may have to sit out the entire pre-season as he looks to get himself ready to play in the ANBL season opener against the Perth Wildcats at the NSEC on October 5.

The Tall Blacks star is still feeling the effects of off-season surgery on his ankle and is set to miss the league's pre-season tournament in Melbourne from September 20-22.

"I'm hoping to be practising fully in a couple of weeks. There's still a bit of pain and stiffness. I'm getting there but it's taking a bit longer than I would have liked."

Abercrombie was not reading too much into the team's disappointing 64-61 defeat to the Wollongong Hawks on Thursday night in Dunedin, which levelled the series at 1-1 heading into tonight's finale in Hamilton.

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"It wasn't great, but it's early days," he said. "We'll get better. That was only our second game of the pre-season and Wollongong have had seven or eight. There are going to be some bumps along the way but the key thing is we're ready by October 5."

Tonight's game in Hamilton will see the Webster brothers, Corey and Tai, play together for the first time in Breakers colours.

Seventeen-year-old schoolboy Tai, a sensation in his rookie season with the Tall Blacks, said it was an exciting thought to be able to hit the court with his re-energised brother now his one-year suspension has finally ended.

"He looks in great shape and is ready to prove himself," said Tai. "You can see the fire in his eyes. If we get out there together I'll definitely be looking to get him the ball."

- Fairfax Media

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