Dominique Kelman-Poto’s antics with his hair can be attributed to his inability to say no.
Kelman-Poto started the 2021 National Basketball League with dyed blonde hair.
He had no intention of straying from it.
However, that was until a small Southland Sharks fan approached him with a suggestion he couldn’t refuse.
“She said, ‘you should turn pink,'” Kelman-Poto recalls.
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From there, throughout the season, he’s colored his hair pink, blue, purple and now orange.
Kelman-Poto quickly realized that this was an easy way to make some faces smile.
The pressure mounted this week when Sharks fans urged him to adopt the Sharks orange color for his semi-final Thursday night against Hawke’s Bay.
âI thought it was a good thing to involve the community, the kids love it. Win or lose, the kids come to me smiling and talking about my hair, and at the end of the day, I love the support of the community.
However, it wasn’t the ever-changing hair color that made Kelman-Poto stand out in the field this year.
Kelman-Poto was instrumental in propelling the Sharks to a place in the 2021 NZNBL semifinals.
He’s averaging 17.6 points per game and 8.2 rebounds and on Monday night he was named the Sharks’ 2021 MVP and his awards night.
Kelman-Poto attributes his strong campaign to implementing the required work.
âMy partner tells me I have to go to the gym more and shoot more because at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what you put on that’s what you get,â he told Stuff.
His impressive performance in the Sharks orange jersey this season has garnered some outside interest and Kelman-Poto is hoping that could lead to a shot with an Australian National Basketball League season.
But first, the power forward has a job to do against Hawke’s Bay on Thursday night in the NBL semi-final game which kicks off at 8 p.m. in Porirua.
Hawke’s Bay enters the game as a favorite, as he beat the Sharks 97-71 in the two teams’ last meeting. Hawke’s Bay was leading 38-17 after the first quarter of this game.
âWe’ve watched that first quarter maybe eight-nine times now and each time it’s been about 30 minutes to an hour. It sucks, but if it’s going to make us better, that’s the end goal for us.
âWe wanted to make the playoffs, and we did, now we want to win it. Not just for us, but for the community.
The mission is a bit more difficult given that star shooter Alonzo Burton came out with a broken finger, while Alex Pledger is still on limited minutes as he recovers from cancer treatment.
âIt’s just the next man mentality, the next person has to step up,â Kelman-Poto said.
The winner of the Southland-Hawke’s Bay semi-final will qualify to face the winner of the other semi-final between the Wellington Saints and the Auckland Huskies.
The grand final will be played Friday evening at 8 p.m.