By Justin Ware
One of Geelong’s longest elite sport careers has ended with advice that “it’s never too late” for anyone wanting to play basketball.
Sebastian ‘Seb’ Loader finished his last season this year after 440 games in South East Australian Basketball League (SEABL) over the past 20 years of competition.
Possibly more remarkable is that he played with just one club, Geelong Supercats.
Loader revealed a non-traditional beginning to his basketball career.
“It’s a bit different to most, I guess. I never really played it in my younger years.
“I always played cricket and took part in some tennis on the side whilst growing up. I was never the kid in school who drew attention for being great at basketball.”
“I was always one of the taller kids but then I had a huge growth spurt when I was around 17 – I shot up from six foot to 6’8” in just a couple of years.
“It was pretty crazy … and as a result I got dragged into a mate’s basketball team.
“In all honesty, I played for fun the first couple of years. I’d just turned 18 and had a few distractions at that point in time.
“It wasn’t until I was in my early 20s where a few people said they thought that with some hard work and effort I could be a good player. The rest is history.”
Loader admitted he was “one of a dying breed” during his basketball days as centre-player only
“I didn’t have the skill set to go off the dribble and I didn’t shoot much,” he chuckled.
“I always played with great shooters, so I figured that we were better off them shooting and me hitting the glass instead of the other way around.
“I don’t think we were going to be winning often if the offence was going through me.”
Loader said his loyalty to the Supercats came down to “friends, familiarity and potential”.
“I’ve always had great mates playing down here, plus I’ve owned the local TimeZone in downtown Geelong for 13 years, so it was always going to take a lot to get me to play elsewhere.
“I had a few offers over the years but I think those teams all knew that I was a pretty loyal guy.
“For me, it’s always been about playing with mates and for my city in front of family and friends.
“It doesn’t hurt that playing in front of a packed Arena is a pretty special experience, so at the end of the day why would I go elsewhere?”
Now 40, Loader encouraged anyone wanting to play basketball to “make your own story”.
“Inexperienced, out of shape or old, it’s not too late.
“You don’t need to have played from the age of seven to be a great player – pick up a ball and get to work.”