AN extraordinary playing career came to a close last week as Australian basketball bid farewell to Belinda Snell.
Following the final siren in the Townsville vs Sydney Uni Flames clash last weekend weekend, a career spanning 20 years at the elite level was celebrated and farewelled in emphatic style. One of Victoria’s greatest bid farewell to the game she’s given so much to over a fabled journey.
One of Gippsland’s great sporting exports, Snell starred wherever she took her game. From Mirboo North and junior basketball throughout the region, Snell defined the elite mindset and approach that was necessary to succeed at the highest levels of our sport.
Following early success, starring with Vic Country in four consecutive national championships from 1995 to 1998 and the AIS in their WNBL championship campaign in 1998/1999, it was clear that Snell would shine no matter the obstacle.
There was no stone left unturned in a career that sent her across the globe in pursuit of the best challenge. America, Europe and plenty of occasions in the green and gold; it’s safe to say with a resume like her’s that Snell found that challenge and surpassed it time and time again. Sometimes the only way to truly appreciate greatness is to rattle off achievements…. and Snell’s list of accolades is truly staggering.
One FIBA World Championship, the incredible 2006 campaign in Brazil surrounded by stars like Lauren Jackson, Penny Taylor and Kristy Harrower. Three Olympic Games medals, taking home two silver medals in 2004 and 2008 as well as her bronze and incredible half-court buzzer-beater against France in 2012 that will be talked about for eons. Two Commonwealth Games gold medals, winning both times basketball was admitted to the Games. A WNBA championship with the Phoenix Mercury in 2007 as well as a EuroLeague championship in 2011.
Throughout it all she’s always been ready and willing to compete on the home circuit. With three WNBL championships, earned with the AIS and Sydney Uni, Snell’s stellar career spanned 323 games in her beloved WNBL. She currently its fifth on the WNBL all-time scoring list and will forever stand of one of the legends of the competition.
While this chapter of her basketball journey comes to a close, there’s plenty left in the tank for Snell in the game. She’s taken to the coaching ranks and served as head coach of the Sydney Sparks in the former SEABL.
Her ambition doesn’t stop at the court perimeter as she hopes to return to the league as a head coach one day, to continue a wonderful WNBL legacy on the other side of the white line.
The Victorian and Australian basketball community applauds you on an incredible career and thank you for the memories along the way.
Feature image courtesy of the Sydney Uni Flames.