New Zealand’s regular rugby union and league opponents are accustomed to lining up against the Haka, but some of the NBA’s biggest superstars were clearly baffled when they were greeted with the traditional Maori war dance before the USA took on the Tall Blacks at the FIBA World Cup.
The likes of Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, Houston Rockets gun James Harden and Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried expressed looks of bemusement as the Kiwis passionately belted out the Haka.
The Americans cruised to a 98-71 victory over the comparative minnows at the Spain-hosted tournament.
Meanwhile, there has been conjecture back in New Zealand about whether the Haka has a place on the basketball court – but there is little doubt the Tall Blacks perform it with just as much pride and vigour as their oval-ball counterparts.
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