Net effect not all about court time
NIK Lackovic is continuing to teach the importance of mental health among young basketballers after losing a close friend at the start of his coaching career.
The Perth Redbacks and Hale School director of basketball was appointed the North of the River coach for the annual State Basketball League (SBL) All Star Game on June 5 at the Bendat Basketball Centre in Floreat.
The charity game is co-organised by Basketball WA and Lifeline WA, with funds raised going towards suicide prevention services.
Lackovic’s friend Eden committed suicide in the early 2000s - a time he described as the most “challenging” time of his life.
“It was an experience where a good friend of mine and I grew up playing junior level together in the same teams,” he said.
“When I began as a coach (at Perth Redbacks), I recruited him to come and join from a previous club.
“We played a game on a Sunday and we embraced after the game, talked about what a good weekend it was and how we had a couple of good wins over the weekend.
“I got the call Monday night and on Tuesday at training and the team was notified that he decided to take his life, which was quite devastating.”
The former Perth Redbacks and Perth Wildcats guard said his good relationship with Eden inspired him to become the best coach he could be.
“For some reason, he did not have the strength to be able to share with me the troubles and the challenges that he was having,” he said.
“So each and every day, when we are out there on the court, whether we are successful or not, I make sure that I tap into how player welfare is.
“For me, it is not all measured about wins and losses on the court, it is about the kind of young player that we are developing as a man and surrounding the player with a great support network.”
Lackovic said he emphasised family values when coaching at SBL, Western Australia Basketball League (WABL), school level and the All Stars North team.
“Coaching is my soul… I enjoy putting back into young men and helping them to maximise their full potential and teaching the skill set, which is relative both on and off the court,” he said.
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Hale School director of basketball Nik Lackovic (43).