Nik’s loss in­spires game plan

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Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By KRISTIE LIM

Nik Lack­ovic, of Cottes­loe, says los­ing his friend Eden to sui­cide was the most “chal­leng­ing” time of his life.

Since then, the Hale School bas­ket­ball di­rec­tor has fo­cused on de­vel­op­ing young play­ers per­son­ally and sur­round­ing them with a good sup­port net­work.

Lack­ovic will coach the North of the

River team at the an­nual State Bas­ket­ball League (SBL) All

Star Game on June 5 that raises money for

Life­line WA.

PROMPTED by the loss of a close friend at the start of his coach­ing ca­reer, Cottes­loe res­i­dent Nik Lack­ovic teaches the im­por­tance of men­tal health among young bas­ket­ballers .

The Perth Red­backs and Hale School bas­ket­ball di­rec­tor 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 43-year-old’s friend Eden com­mit­ted sui­cide in the early 2000s, an ex­pe­ri­ence he de­scribed as the most “chal­leng­ing” in his life.

“When I be­gan as a coach at Perth Red­backs, I re­cruited him to come and join from a pre­vi­ous club,” he said.

“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 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 player wel­fare.”

The char­ity game is or­gan­ised by Bas­ket­ball WA and Life­line WA. Funds go to sui­cide pre­ven­tion ser­vices.

* Source: em­matm con­ducted by Ip­sos Me­di­act for 12 months end­ing Jan­uary – Read­ers in Last 4 Weeks. Nielsen DRM

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d469568

North coach Nik Lack­ovic will lead his team into the SBL All Stars on June 5.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d469568

North team coach Nik Lack­ovic con­cen­trates on tap­ping into his play­ers’ wel­fare.

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