Final play for one of Rocky's favourite sporting sons
BASKETBALL: The curtain will come down on the career of one of Rockhampton's favourite sporting sons this weekend.
Basketballer Stephen Weigh will play his last NBL game on Sunday night, lining up with the Cairns Taipans against the Perth Wildcats in Perth.
The 30-year-old announced his retirement a fortnight ago, an ongoing battle with a debilitating foot injury a major factor in his decision.
Rockhampton Basketball manager Matt Neason paid tribute to the hard-working Weigh, who played four seasons for the Rockhampton Rockets in the QBL.
He said the champion small forward was a wonderful ambassador for Rockhampton, its basketball program and for the game.
"Stephen is a shining example of what's possible if you have a big dream but, more importantly, have the dedication to do the work required to make it a reality,” Neason said.
"By his own admission I'm sure Stevie would acknowledge that he wasn't the most athletically gifted player. His competitive advantage was that he just wanted it more than others. He simply outworked his opposition.
"There's stories of Stevie Weigh returning from the under-18 nationals with a fire in his belly.
"Most normal people take a full week to recover from the physical and emotional drain of nationals, for some it can take up to a month. Stevie was seen at 6am the next day working on his game on the outdoor courts at Hegvold.”
Neason said Weigh was part of Rockhampton Basketball's first ever state championship winning side, guiding the under-12 boys to the gold medal in 1998.
"It's fitting that he then helped guide the Rockets to the national championship 10 years later,” he said.
Jasmine Amis from the Cairns Taipans posted this article about Weigh on the club's website.
CQUniversity Cairns Taipans vice-captain Stephen Weigh will call time on his 10-year basketball career this weekend.
Weigh is one of the longest-serving NBL players, starting his journey at the Australian Institute of Sport alongside the likes of Joe Ingles, Patty Mills and Nate Jawai before playing for the University of Utah.
Weigh was playing for his local Rockhampton Rockets in the QBL when Brisbane Bullets head coach Brian Kerle made him one of his first signings ahead of the 2008/09 NBL season.
While Weigh was always destined to play for Queensland, it was not meant to be with the Bullets as they had to pull out of the competition and the Wildcats swooped in, quickly signing him to a three-year deal.
He went on to total 94 games for the Wildcats, averaging 11 points and 5.4 rebounds, and was part of their 2010 NBL championship in just his second professional season.
His next move was to the City of Churches, signing a two-year deal with the Adelaide 36ers, where he registered his career-high 24 points in a game against the Melbourne Tigers in 2011. He also won the three-point shooting competition for the Sixers at the NBL All-Star weekend in December 2012.
Weigh finally returned to his home state of Queensland for the 2014/15 season, signing with the Cairns Taipans, where he would ultimately complete his career five years on.
He has clocked 125 games for the Taipans - ninth on the list for the 'Most Games Played' for the club - and helped take the team to the play-offs twice, in 2015 and 2017.
"I've thoroughly enjoyed the journey with the club, with the group, with the guys on the floor and with all of the supporters out there,” Weigh said.
"It's been an exceptional ride. I've loved being part of the growth of the Cairns Taipans, and I'm excited to hang around to see the growth continue.”
Weigh has struggled with injury this year - with a pre-stress foot fracture delaying his debut with the Cairns Marlins in the QBL, and a stagnant recovery restricting his court time.
He moves on to pursue a business opportunity, and steps away from basketball, content with his achievements.
"I think about my own personal development since I first came into this League,” he said.
"When I first came in, it was all about me, and how I was performing - as it is with most young talent when they come into the NBL. But, as my career has continued I've become a much more selfless person. My thoughts and actions have shifted from what I'm doing personally, to the group and how the individuals are travelling.
"I need to thank the Taipans organisation - that transition started four years ago when I became a Taipan and I'm really happy that's been a personal outcome for me. It's set me up and put me in good stead for life after basketball.”