Rebel Yell - unsung hero is the 'Voice of British Basketball'

  • Date

    Mon 26 Jun 23

Stanley Kadzunge amps up the record-breaking crowd in the Essex Arena

It has been a massive season for the Essex Rebels on the court, but it has been an even bigger year for an unsung hero who has become “the voice of British Basketball”.

Stanley Kadzunge was front and centre cheering on the 1,500-strong crowd when the team broke the Women's British Basketball League home attendance record – something he never “dreamt he would be a part of”.

And Stan, 25, has spearheaded the development of the thrilling live show which saw the Rebels win a prestigious Basketball England gameday experience award.

Despite being front and centre of a cheering crowd SRES graduate Stan had never held a mic before the pandemic forced him to step up and commentate over live streams.

Now he is a man in demand – whipping up crowds at packed-out venues for the legendary Michael Jordan brand, Team GB, Basketball England finals, and leading British basketball media and news outlet, Hoopsfix.

The Fan Engagement & Matchday Entertainment Officer said: “I never thought I would do anything like this in my life, it has been incredible.

“If you told me when I was a student here that through my work at Essex I’d become an MC at major basketball events I would have laughed.

“The Jordan brand Black History Month event was a real highlight for me, getting to represent my community and the sport I love was unreal.”

Stan added: “The Rebel’s record-breaking game was another amazing moment though – it was a great day.

“When I was playing here you have to understand I was running out in front of a handful of mates in a gym and now we have a sold-out arena, it’s so impressive.”

Before becoming the face of elite sport at Essex the host started off as a volunteer and keen student player at Essex – becoming basketball club president during his second and third year.

By his own admission, the Zimbabwean-born Dagenham-lad has held “every basketball job” at the university since graduating in 2018.

His passion for the sport has led to Stan developing the thriving 5v5 Fridays league and spearheading  Rebels Play children's basketball sessions at weekends.

Outside of the Essex Arena the passionate player has become Mr Rebels and fronts nearly every outreach event.

His passion for the team meant Stan has never missed a home game, even making a match after a car crash.

He said: “That was such a crazy day, my mate picked me up and I just came to work and didn’t tell anyone what happened.

“That day just made me realise how much I love The Rebels and I’ll never miss an Essex Rebels game day.

“I feel like I belong at The University of Essex, that’s why I am still here.

“My dissertation was about the effects of audience noise and competitive pressure on free throw performance in elite basketball players.

“It’s great to have a job where directly applying the science I learned in my degree to the real world, can have a positive effect on the success of our teams.

“Essex has given me a sense of belonging, I came here for a degree but now I have a vocation and direction in my life.

“I never saw any of this coming and I am so thankful I have been given this chance.”

His dedication has been recognised by Director of Sport Dr Dave Parry who has praised Stan’s impact on the University.

He said: “Sometimes you come across a student, and you just know that somehow you have to keep this one.

“Stan was our basketball activator when he was doing his degree, and it was immediately apparent that we had a star on our hands.

“So much of the success of our gameday entertainment is down to Stan’s ability to connect with the audience in the Essex Sport Arena, and it is really no surprise that he is in such high demand and is quickly becoming recognised as the voice of British Basketball.

“Stan is a great guy on and off the courtside, and I have no doubt he is destined for big things in the future.”