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Sam joins elite club

Thursday, 2nd January, 2014

Sam Hocking has played basketball for over 30 years and was recently awarded with life membership of the Broken Hill Basketball Association. PICTURE: Ethan James Sam Hocking has played basketball for over 30 years and was recently awarded with life membership of the Broken Hill Basketball Association. PICTURE: Ethan James

By Ethan James

He has played basketball for so long that you could be forgiven for thinking that Sam Hocking was born on the court.

Sam started out in the Under Eight competition and is still shooting hoops just shy of his 40th birthday.

“I’ve been playing ever since I can remember ... I don’t think I can think of season that I’ve missed,” he said.

The 39-year-old received life membership of the Broken Hill Basketball Association as a reward for his dedication to the sport.

The badge was presented to Sam by BHBA President Grahame Semmens at the conclusion of the A Grade final.

“I was just sitting there trying to catch my breath after the match,” he recalled.

“They were going through the details of the person who had won the award ... they kept going and all of a sudden I realised ‘this is me’.

“It was a pretty big honour that’s for sure.”

Sam took part in the top grade decider, with his team Hirdy’s Heroes putting in a stellar final quarter to take the trophy for the fourth year in a row.

“I’d say we’ve been in the last ten or so finals ... we haven’t lost too many and the ones we have were by a few points,” he said.

“People have come and gone during that time but we’ve had a solid core group of four or five ... some younger guys are starting to come through now though.”

Sam was in fine form during the match, landing a number of crucial three pointers from the edge of the ring.

Aside from playing, he recently became the coach of the Under 16 Broncos side that reached the semi final at the 2013 Port Pirie Junior Basketball Carnival.

“I just love the game and watching the kids play... helping them play better and improve is the main reason why I do it.”

When speaking to the BDT, Sam even had the time to throw a friendly jab at a former team mate.

“They must give this award out on basketball ability, because that explains why I got mine before Nick Manoel,” he said with a laugh.

For him the game is just as fun as when he first started out.

“It’s a bit more physical and the fact that I’m getting older doesn’t help.”

“But I just enjoy getting out on the court with my mates really.”

The tradition appears set to continue in the family, with Sam’s 14-year-old son Sage playing alongside his father for Hirdy’s Heroes.

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