OF all his accolades and achievements, and there have been many, Newcastle basketball living legend Terry Charlton treasures the fraternity and friendships above everything else.
Alongside the likes of former Newcastle Falcons coach Ken Cole, Wollongong (Illawarra) Hawks coach and former captain Gordie McLeod and Paralympic dual gold medallist Troy Sachs, Charlton and another Newcastle stalwart, Melva Hancock (nee Saunders), will be inducted into the Basketball NSW Hall of Fame at a function in Sydney tonight.
Dr John Raschke, who founded the National Basketball League in Newcastle in 1979, will be posthumously honoured as one of two Hall of Fame inductees upgraded to ‘‘Legend’’ status.
‘‘I feel it’s an honour. It’s nice to be recognised by your peers and realise that your efforts have been worthwhile,’’ said Charlton, who won 12 NSW State senior championships with Newcastle and captained NSW to the Australian title in 1967.
‘‘This is something I dedicated my life to, and I feel I achieved a lot of the goals that I set.
‘‘Basketball was a way of life, and a lot of the friends I made in those early days – Denis Kibble, Les Atkins, Alistair Robertson – we’re still knocking around now 50 years later.
‘‘I’ve made great friendships and had good times.’’
Charlton, who began playing as a 12-year-old, was coached by Dr Raschke as a junior then went on to work alongside him running Newcastle Basketball Association.
Newcastle’s assistant manager from 1958 to 1965, Charlton broke new ground when he became the association’s first full-time secretary-manager in 1966 and held that position for 10 years.
‘‘I was the first full-time secretary-manager in NSW, and second in Australia behind Lindsay Gaze,’’ said Charlton, Newcastle’s first life playing member and life member.
‘‘We had the first stadium in NSW at Wickham, and were the first NSW association to have two courts after we established Broadmeadow.’’
He and Colyn Whitehead were the first Newcastle basketballers to represent Australia at an Olympic Games, flying the region’s flag in Rome, then Charlton returned to the Olympic arena in 1988 as Australia’s team manager at Seoul.
‘‘It was great to see basketball progress in my time from a fledgling sport, particularly on the international level,’’ he said.
‘‘I went from playing in the Olympics when we didn’t do very well in 1960, to managing the team in 1988 and we came fourth, which was one of our best results. We played the USA for a bronze, which was a big ask.
‘‘But I reflect now on our international ranking, and we’re ranked fourth in the world, behind the USA, Spain and Russia.
‘‘A lot of people don’t realise how highly we are ranked.’’
Hancock was a member of the first Australian women’s team to compete at an international tournament, representing her nation at the world championships in Rio de Janeiro in 1957, where she doubled as team manager.
She represented NSW in 1955 and 1956 and was a key member of the Newcastle team that won eight straight NSW Country and NSW State championships.
Hancock held various positions on the Australian Women’s Basketball Council for 10 years, managed NSW teams from 1959 to 1964, was competition manager at Broadmeadow from 1973 to 1978, and managed a Newcastle women’s team on a tour of New Zealand.