13 Feb 2024

Tom Abercrombie announces his retirement

From Checkpoint, 5:42 pm on 13 February 2024

New Zealand basketball legend Tom Abercrombie has called time on his playing career, announcing his retirement today.

Abercrombie has won four championship titles with The Breakers; he holds the record for the most appearances, over 400; and he's scored more than 4400 points.

He is also the only player to have played in all six of the club's championship games, winning the grand final MVP in 2011.

Abercrombie told Checkpoint he had given 16 years to the Breakers, and professional basketball, and it felt like the right time to go.

"I've given everything in a physical and a mental sense to this game.

"It's time for me to pass the baton on to someone else to lead this club and for me to explore some new adventures in life, and it just felt like the right time."

Tom Abercrombie for the Breakers.
New Zealand Breakers v Cairns Taipans. NBL Basketball, Spark Arena, Auckland, New Zealand on Sunday 15 January 2023. © Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz

 Tom Abercrombie playing for the Breakers against Cairns Taipans at Spark Arena in Auckland on 15 January 2023. Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz

He said he was proud of the championships and the success on the court.

"But I'm probably most proud of the impact and impression I've been able to leave on my community. I've always put a great emphasis and effort on making sure that every kid I've interacted with and in every fan ... to really give them the time because you never know the kind of impact that can have later in life."

Basketball was growing more popular in New Zealand, and he said he would love to see more children take up the sport.

"The Breakers have been doing a fantastic job of flying that flag.

"Obviously every kid wants to play in the NBA, but I think every young kid in New Zealand wants to play for the Breakers one day too."

Abercrombie said he counted himself lucky to be able to live the dream of playing for a professional team in his hometown.

He said he was never tempted to leave his club.

"I've been incredibly lucky that the club has wanted me to be a part of what they're doing and I've never felt drawn to going somewhere else. I've loved my time here. I've loved representing my hometown and always felt a great responsibility to do so to the best of my ability. I feel very fortunate I've been able to be a one-club man my whole career."

Hereon, he plans to spend time with his children and finish his Masters in Business Administration.

"It's an exciting time."

Looking forward to possibly his last game on his home court, between the Breakers and Brisbane Bullets on Friday, 16 February, he said it would be an emotional night.

"At the end of the day it's, it's about going out there and doing the job. We've got a game to win and I'll be doing everything I can to help my teammates get that job done," Abercrombie said.