There are precious few championship captains in the 50-year history of the Cockburn Cougars and even fewer men who played more than 300 SBL games, but it’s going to be hard to top for Grant Davey seeing his parents rewarded with life membership.
Few men have the history at the Cockburn Basketball Association that Davey does. By the end of his glittering SBL career in 2016, he had amassed 338 appearances for the Cougars having started in 1996.
Along the way, he was the championship captain in 2012, earned the life membership well and truly along with his spot on the famous wall at Wally Hagan Stadium and put together a lifelong lasting legacy.
However, upon reflection and Davey fully realises now what a significant part his parents Glenys and Kim had on his entire basketball journey in so many ways.
They both have made massive contributions to the Cockburn Basketball Association in their own ways too and that’s why Davey couldn’t be more proud about them being about to become life members of the Cougars in their own right.
“I feel like it will be really nice for them to feel like their contributions over a period of time are being justified and recognised. It all started for them when I began playing down there, but it’s grown into so much more,” Davey said.
“Dad got on the Board and started to do the video camera work for SBL games, and Mum was involved in Rookies for such a period of time where she did so much for that organisation to make sure it continued to put teams together, had uniforms and all of that.
“She then sat on the score bench down at Cockburn for 20-plus years and that was even when I was overseas for a couple of years, and had a couple of years away from the games. She continued to do it and it became a big part of her life, and Cockburn became such a big part of their lives.
“I think life membership is well and truly deserved, and I’m really happy for them and I’m great. I do appreciate their name put forward because I think it is really well deserved.”
It’s only now with the benefit of hindsight that Davey fully recognises just what an impact his parents made in his development years but then right throughout his basketball journey.
Not only could he not have done it without their support, but he’s forever grateful to have shared everything from his basketball life with them both too and for them all now to be able to call themselves life members at Cockburn.
“It was huge having their support. When you’re a kid you don’t really think much about it and it’s just normal for Mum and Dad to take you to basketball, and you don’t think about their sacrifices,” Davey said.
“But I started playing WABL when I was 14 so they dedicated their lives to supporting me for a long time, and even those country trips they would try and come to all of those which was fantastic. Mum was always kind of the nurturing, it will be OK type no matter how I played, and Dad was more of the realist and would always challenge me.
“To be honest, especially when I was younger he was the one I went to for advice about my game and what he thought I needed to do. I learned from him that there’s nothing wrong with being honest, that’s how you get better by hearing exactly what the issue is. He kind of just challenged me when I was younger about being a good point guard, but that I needed to develop something I could stand out with.
“A big part of that would be that there were those guys I needed to be better than them, and if I could do that it would give my team an opportunity to win. He was great and he’s still a sounding board for me on a lot of issues, but especially in those younger days he would pinpoint the issues for me to get better at, and Mum would just say it was OK,” Davey added.
“They were just super supportive and that went through my entire SBL career and I hope they are proud of what I was able to achieve, and having them there the whole time for support and feedback was just super important. They have been super influential in my life.”
The association is a whole family affair for the Daveys as part of the Cougar Family and it’s something that means the world to Grant especially now with the chance to look back on the whole journey they’ve made together.
“I’ve got a younger brother and sister as well who represented Cockburn in WABL for a few years, and Dad was head coach for my sister’s team,” Davey said.
“I feel like Mum and Dad invested so much time and effort, and instilled so many positives in me that as much as the club was offering me an opportunity, I had the opportunity to give back to the club and that’s something my parents instilled from a young age.
“There were significant fundraisers and everything you had to invest time into as well so the club could keep putting us out on a basketball court. I think sometimes people forget how much money’s actually involved in getting a team out there and they made me understand and appreciate that the club was giving me an opportunity to play at the highest level that I was going to get to.”
As much as his family has been a huge part of his Cockburn journey, Davey also can’t help but be grateful for it contributing to finding the love of his life, Emma Pass.
“Emma and I also me through the organisation so I will forever be thankful for that,” he said.
“It really has been a place that has brought amazing people into my life.”
Davey is rightfully proud of what he achieved during his 338-game SBL career with the Cougars. It started as a teenager back in 1996 where he could scarcely believe his luck at being on the court on the same team as some of his heroes.
He then had a break a couple of times from being at Cockburn between 2003-04 and then 2006-07, and especially embraced his experience to play in Scotland, but from the most part from when he started WABL at 14 up until retiring in 2016, the Cougars were a massive part in his life.
To be able to look back on that playing career now is something he does with pride, but he also wishes he had the same dedication he did at 30 back when he was 20.
“I’m happy with what I achieved in my career, but in saying that I wish I had been significantly more dedicated at a younger age,” Davey said.
“I just feel like when you look at what kids are going through now and with their aspirations to make the NBL and NBA, and the effort they are putting in, I really wish I had been a little bit more committed when I was younger.
“I had a good group of friends outside of basketball and while basketball was important to me and I loved it, I had a life outside it as well and that might have pulled my dedication from basketball away a little bit.
“But in saying that, I reflect now more so on the back end of my career with a lot of pride. I was very lucky and fortunate when I was early in my career to get to play with legends of Cockburn in Troy Clarke, Mike Farrell, Alan Erikson, Kelly Houston and the list goes on.
“It wasn’t until possibly when Charlie took over when I was 29, 30 that all of a sudden I realised I was no longer a role player and was integral to our team as a leader. I feel like that’s when I flourished most in the back end of my career and that’s when I wished I had that same dedication and work ethic when I was younger.
“At the same time, once I got back into it and I’m really glad I did because in a lot of ways my career got better and more rewarding the longer I played up until the end.”
Davey has been involved in coaching at different levels since retiring as a player and even spent some time on the Board at Cockburn so basketball still remains in his blood, and he sees himself always wanting some form of involvement.
But in the bigger picture, it’s those lifelong bonds formed with his Cougars teammates that will always be the most treasured aspect of his playing career even if they don’t always see as other as much as they would like.
“I jumped on the Board for about a year but then went overseas and it probably changed my feelings slightly only due to the fact that when you get involved on that side of things, people don’t really care what you have done or have achieved,” Davey said.
“It’s more about what you can do for them now, and after the time I had invested in the organisation over 20 years I found that a bit hard. But in saying that I still have a lot of really good friends at Cockburn and it’s the long-lasting relationship that will be the greatest memory.
“They might not be people you get to see that often anymore, but when you bump into a Rod Baker or a Dave Nugent who you have such a history with, you just pick up where you left off.
“I still catch up with a lot of my old teammates and it’s always fun to reflect and the best relationships that you built over those years are the ones you don’t see each other for 12 months, but two minutes later it feels like it was yesterday.
“Whenever I walk into the club now, there’s so many good memories and it played such a significant part in my life especially up until when I was about 35. There’s always significant positives and good feelings when I do think about the place that’s for sure.”