Paul Henare first stepped onto the court in a Breakers uniform for the club’s innaugural NBL encounter against Adelaide 36ers in Octber 2003. The fiesty point guard turned coach has been with the club for all but two of the fourteen seasons the Breakers have existed.
On Sunday he will make his 350th appearance in Breakers colours when he leads his charges at Vector Arena against Brisbane Bullets.
As a player Henare was the first Breaker to have his singlet retired following the club’s first Championship win in 2011. He appeared in 250 games over an eight season playing career with the club and holds the all time record for most assists. His mark of 902 is likely to stand for a considerable length of time.
He returned to the club in 2013, after just two seasons transitioning from player to coach in the New Zealand NBL. As assistant coach to Dean Vickerman he helped the club to a fourth title the following season and logged 92 appearances alongside his good friend during their three-year partnership.
When Vickerman left for the Sydney Kings this year Henare stepped into the hot seat and on Sunday will make his eighth appearance at the helm of the four times NBL champions.
It’s fitting that Sunday’s game is against Brisbane. The Bullets are led by Andrej Lemanis – the three times championship winning coach spent eight years in charge at the Breakers.
That is a tenure Henare would love to emulate.