Through a highly decorated career that saw him retire as one of the most successful Australian basketball players of all time, Troy Sachs proved to the world just how able he was.
Born without a tibia and a deformed foot, Sachs’ right leg was amputated below the knee at two and a half years old. That did not hamper his love of sport though and as a junior, Sachs made representative teams in able-bodied soccer, athletics, volleyball and basketball before he was introduced to wheelchair basketball at the age of 14. Proving to be a natural on the court as well as in the chair, Sachs had to endure a four-hour round trip from his home town of Bulli in New South Wales to the nearest organised Wheelchair Basketball training. However, his efforts were rewarded just two years later when he was selected to make his debut for the Australian Rollers at the 1992 Paralympics at 16 years of age. Having never finished higher than eighth at a Paralympics, Sachs’ inclusion in the team coincided with a marked improvement for the Rollers as they went on to win Australia’s first Paralympic or Olympic Gold Medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Sachs recorded an incredible stat-line of 28 points, 32 rebounds and 15 assists in the Semi-Final win over the USA before creating history with 42 points in the final against Great Britain.
That tally remains a Paralympic and Olympic record for points scored in a final and it cemented his position as the world’s most dominant wheelchair basketballer while also earning him the award for Most Outstanding Individual Performance by the Australian Paralympic Committee. Named co-captain of the Rollers in 1998 and then taking on the role by himself in 2002, Sachs represented Australia at five Paralympic Games and three World Championships throughout his career, claiming two more Paralympic medals with a silver in 2004 and another gold in 2008 where he was the only Roller from the original gold medal winning team of 1996. As he dominated the international scene, Sachs also enjoyed success at the domestic level. He won six Australian League Championships with the West Sydney Slix and Razorbacks while winning the league MVP five times, Finals MVP six times, the league scoring title ten times and league All-Star 5 honours nine times. His performances on US soil caught the eye of scouts and following his performance in the 1996 Paralympics, Sachs signed with the Dallas Wheelchair Mavericks. There, he won four consecutive US National Championships, losing only 2 games during this period and was named to the US League All-Star team four times. Globetrotting throughout the rest of his playing career, success continued to follow Sachs as he won domestic Championships in Germany, Italy and Turkey along with three European championships and three European scoring titles to add to his trophy cabinet already stocked with Australian and American Championships. Finishing up in 2010, Sachs moved to the sidelines where he was an assistant coach to the German national team and the Australian Gliders while also serving as head coach for New South Wales during the Kevin Coombs Cup.
Sachs currently runs the Blues Wheelchair Basketball Club that encompasses a wheelchair basketball pathway from juniors up to a senior men’s and women’s team and he led the Sydney Metro Blues to a WNWBL Championship in 2017 as head coach. Since serving on the Board of Directors for the Australian Paralympic Committee between 2008-2013, Sachs is currently devoted to his two companies- Team Sachs and T5 Mobility. In addition to his Australian Basketball Hall of Fame induction, Sachs was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia, was a finalist for the Young Australian of the Year in 1997 and 1999, received an Australian Sports Medal in 2000, was inducted into the NSW Hall of Champions and last year, was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Sachs will be inducted alongside seven other icons into the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame on May 10. The 2019 Australian Basketball Hall of Fame Class: PLAYERS
Lauren Jackson AO Troy Sachs OAM Allison Tranquilli Lanard Copeland Bradley Dalton CONTRIBUTOR
Lorraine Landon OAM OFFICIALS
Bill Mildenhall Ray Hunt