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Ball trio in Honours List

AUSTRALIAN basketball trio Luc Longley, Ricky Grace and Bruce Spangler have been recognised today in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

For his services to basketball as a player, coach and administrator, Longley is now a Member of the Order of Australia.

The 218cm triple Olympian was a starter on a superstar-filled Chicago Bulls team which won three consecutive NBA championships in 1996-1997-1998.

Longley played alongside Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Toni Kucoc and Steve Kerr, to name just a handful.

Now he is an assistant coach with the Australian national team for the FIBA World Cup later this year in China and for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, having alrerady served through the previous World Cup and Olympic Games campaigns.

As a naturalised American playmaker, Grace represented his adopted country with the Boomers at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, along with Longley.

Grace has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his significant service to the state's Indigenous community through his academy, which he created after retiring as a multipl;e NBL championship winner with Perth Wildcats.

More than 2,700 Indigenous girls receive mentorship and support to help them through high school and beyond through Grace's Girls Academy, working with parents, teachers and community members to help girls at 50 different schools around Australia.

A lifetime of service to basketball and the wider community, plus his drive to save WNBL club Adelaide Lightning, saw Spangler earn his AM today.

Spangler won a national title with the SA under-16 state team in 1967, was president of the SA Church Basketball Association, and chaired Basketball SA.

He also served on both the Basketball Australia and NBL boards before consolidating a consortium which has taken over ownership of Lightning.

Apart from basketball, the other element all three recipients have in common is they are just bloody good blokes, the type our sport has been built on.

Jun 10

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