NBL: Perth Wildcats’ Greg Hire reflects ahead of 200th game

Greg Hire is to celebrate 200 games. Picture: Getty Images
Greg Hire is to celebrate 200 games. Picture: Getty Images

I’VE been asked numerous times what it means to me to reach the 200-game milestone for the Perth Wildcats against Brisbane at Perth Arena on Saturday.

I would be lying if I said it didn’t mean an incredible amount.

It’s common knowledge that I grew up a Perth Wildcats fan.

I went to games at the Entertainment Centre and snuck down from the nosebleeds to get a glimpse of my heroes.

I watched in awe at performances of Wildcats legends as they played on the courts of Challenge Stadium.

Now I share the courts with players who will have their numbers retired at the Perth Arena.

It hasn’t been all smooth sailing but that’s made it that much sweeter.

I was naive in thinking I would come back from college and be rewarded with a contract.

I’ve been mentored by some individuals who have had a great impact on my life.

Those conversations, which remain distinct in my mind, have allowed me to grow as an individual.

Cameron Tovey. Picture: Getty Images

NBL great Martin Cattalini spoke of taking risks on court; in the early stages of my career this was crucial in putting my hand up to say I belonged in this league.

My former teammate and captain Brad Robbins gave me the belief in becoming a leader and holding teammates accountable; he has been pivotal in my career.

Another former captain Shawn Redhage was momentous in providing the perfect example of what it took to be a Perth Wildcat, the sacrifices and the dedication to your craft.

The last player, who doesn’t get mentioned too often, is West Aussie Cameron Tovey.

I looked up to him in my teens and he reassured me there was a pathway for WA players.

He was the first face I saw at my very first Wildcats session, a fellow sandgroper helping me out.

He inspired me to want to make it and I hope I can do the same to fellow WA juniors.