We won't see Zach Randolph, Josh Childress and Al Harrington as players in the NBL next season, but the former NBA athletes have committed significant interest in the NBL's South East Melbourne Phoenix. It was announced today, that the trio purchased an ownership stake in the Phoenix.
Details on the players' stakes were not available.
“We are thrilled to welcome Zach, Josh, and Al to the Phoenix family," Phoenix owner, Romie Chaudhari said. "I have worked with them all in various capacities in the past, and they all have the type of qualities I would want in partners for this venture.
“When they individually expressed interest in being part of the Phoenix, I was delighted to welcome them. We look forward to introducing them to the fans as we build a great club for this exciting journey ahead.”
Childress and Harrington had also enjoyed brief stints in the NBL. Childress played two seasons for the Sydney Kings from 2014 to 2016, then the Adelaide 36ers in 2017. Harrington came out of retirement and played with the Kings, when Childress was ruled out with a hand injury during 2015.
Randolph, also known as Z-Bo, played 17 seasons in the NBA. The power forward was a core part of the Grit and Grind era Memphis Grizzlies which included Tony Allen, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, who played a physical, defensive and slow-paced style that ran counter to today's trend of uptempo, high-scoring NBA teams.
Randolph, Childress and Harrington have all enjoyed successful careers in the NBA with Childress and Harrington also playing in the NBL. All three will all attend Phoenix games during the season and support the team through a range of initiatives.
"Seeing players like James Ennis, Torrey Craig and Terrance Ferguson come back to the NBA and make their mark made me take a little more notice to the NBL," Randolph said.
“The audience for basketball in Australia is huge and South East Melbourne is the most significant basketball region in the country, it’s Australia’s basketball heartland. I am happy to be a part of this organization and offer my basketball knowledge to help make South East Melbourne Phoenix successful.”
“Having spent three seasons playing in Australia, playing in Sydney and Adelaide, I know the league," Childress said. "I’ve seen the league grow over the years and myself, Al Harrington, Zach Randolph all discussed the opportunity - it just made sense."