Fico Finance Nelson Giants legend Phill Jones alongside our Bowater Toyota Parts Express Van which has been promoting his achievements this season.
This year saw the passing of the huge milestone for Nelson's favourite basketballer, the legendary, and very humble, Phill Jones. He broke the previous record by achieving 350 games in the National Basketball League mid way through the season, and remarkably most of them have been for the Nelson Giants. In the end he finished up with 369 games, a feat certainly worth celebrating, and a feat that also saw the emergence of another rather large announcement - his retirement from the sport he loves.
Phill began first playing way back in 1993, and he has only missed a couple of local seasons during this whole time, playing both in New Zealand and in Europe and Australia. Both of the times he missed out were due to the rules and regulations surrounding the requirements of athletes to return from "overseas duties" within certain timeframes. For the most part of it he has played for the Nelson Giants as a component of his busy international basketball schedule and has quickly established himself as a cornerstone not only of the entire Fico Finance Nelson Giant's Franchise but also NZ Basketball in general, and the local Nelson sports community as a whole.
He has also played extensively overseas during this time as well on a professional scale, which not only provided an income, but also enabled him to play year round for close to 14 years. He has had a great journey, playing basketball professionally, and raising a family on the basketball circuit. But as with all things, there comes a point where change is inevitable and Phill has chosen to make the move to the next stage of his basketball journey on his own terms, stepping down from a key players role in the Nelson Giants to take on a more managerial one within the franchise.
We recently sat down with Phill and talked about being a professional athlete in Nelson, playing your heart out for the local team, what it means to give back to the community, and how corporate sponsors shape the landscape of sports in this age of professionalism.