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Wellington basketball legend dies

Wellington Basketball has lost a leader and supporter in Justin Toebes, who died on Thursday 16 August after a long battle with motor neuron disease. He devoted 40 years of his life to the Wellington basketball community and was Basketball NZ’s vice-president from 2000 to 2006.

Justin Toebes with Governor-General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae at his investiture for the New Zealand Order of Merit in April.

Justin Toebes played basketball for Wellington College in 1973 before working as a lawyer, and administrator for Wellington Basketball.

In a post on their Facebook page, Wellington Basketball talked of Teobes’ impact on the community: “As we perused the courts at the ASB Sports centre, watching the young and old play the game we love, we can’t help but express some emotions as we raise a toast to the man who championed a vision we are all benefiting from today.”

Justin Toebes was instrumental in the establishment of the ASB Sports Centre and turning it into Wellington’s centre of basketball, netball and many other sports.

IBasketball NZ said that Toebes, “constantly endeavoured to see children in Wellington had the opportunity to play basketball regardless of where they lived or how much money they had.

“He paid for their travel to ensure they did not miss out on any opportunities due to their financial circumstance.”

Justin Toebes was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to basketball and was inducted into the Basketball New Zealand Hall of Fame earlier this year.

A public memorial service will take place at the ASB Arena in Kilbirnie, at 10:00am on Monday 20 August.

This Saturday, Wellington’s Intercity Basketball League continues at the ASB Arena, with matches taking place from 4:30pm to 7:30pm.