Gerald Kazanowski

Gerald Kazanowski

Gerald Kazanowski retired professional basketball player

As Gerald Kazanowski takes a break from his day as a financial advisor, he recalls his many days spent as a professional basketball player.

Kazanowski, who is now a Certified Financial Advisor with Manulife Securities and the KAZ Consulting Group Ltd., spent most of his late adolescence and early adult life as a competitive and professional basketball player.

Kazanowski began playing basketball when he was in Grade 6. The Nanaimo native then began playing more seriously in high school with John Barsby Community High School and the Barsby Bulldogs. It was obvious Kazanowski had a talent for the sport and he was named the Most Valuable Player in the 1978 high school provincial Basketball Tournament.

When it came time for Kazanowski to graduate high school, he knew he didn’t want to move on from basketball just yet. “I just knew I wanted to keep playing basketball,” said Kazanowski of his post-graduation choice. “But I also knew I needed to have something to fall back on later in life, and I was always interested in business.”

As a result, Kazanowski attended UVic for his post-secondary years, played basketball as a Vike, and completed a degree in economics.

During his time with the UVic Vikes, Kazanowski was named a three-time CIAU All-Canadian, was a two-time recipient of the Premier’s Athletic Award, and was a member of four consecutive CIAU championship Vikes teams, 1980 through 1983. After graduation, Kazanowski was drafted in the seventh round of the 1983 NBA draft by the Utah Jazz.

Kazanowski, who played as a centre/forward, first played for the national team at the 1979 FIBA World Junior Championship. He played in three World University Games, three FIBA World Championships, and he also participated against the original Dream Team at the 1992 FIBA Tournament of the Americas. Among Kazanowski’s greatest personal accomplishments are his two appearances at the Olympic Games. Kazanowski competed in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California, and in the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.

Kazanowski continued to play professional basketball, up until 1992. He played for professional teams in Spain, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Argentina and finally, Mexico (where he met his wife).

Kazanowski retired from professional basketball in 1992 and by 1993 he was fully immersed in the financial advisory business. Kazanowski currently has his office in Sidney and lives in North Saanich with his wife of 15 years, Claudia, and his two daughters Sarah and Grace.

Kazanowski loves living on the Peninsula and says he always imagined he would end up back on the Island.

“I love this area, and I feel so blessed to live here. There are so many great things going on here and there’s always a real sense of community wherever you go.”

Kazanowski spends his free time volunteering at schools, giving talks on how sports can positively affect kid’s lives and giving advice to older students on how to start thinking about their finances early. He and his family are also involved with the ROCK home makeover project for disadvantaged homeowners on the Saanich Peninsula.

In 2005, Kazanowski was inducted in to the Naismith Museum and Hall of Fame, in 2006 he was inducted in to the BC Basketball Hall of Fame, in 2008 he was inducted into the Nanaimo Sports Hall of Fame and, on February 26, Kazanowski’s UVic Vikes jersey, #24, was retired.