The Haka is a monument to New Zealand’s cultural history, a traditional Maori dance that is performed at weddings, funerals, and many things in between. It’s best known among non-Kiwis as the pregame ritual of the country’s All Blacks national rugby team, who have been performing it before every match since 1905.
Looking to channel the ever-intimidating rugby squad, the nation’s basketball team decided to perform the ritual before a game against the USA at this year’s FIBA Basketball World Cup. USA stars Derrick Rose and James Harden looked on in awe as thighs were slapped and chants hollered, but the Haka turned out to be the highlight of the night for the Tall Blacks (yes, that is their real nickname). The USA’s young cast of NBA prodigies wiped the floor with them, 98-71.