News Article

Breakers Icon Given All Clear to Return to Basketball

09 May
2 mins read
Alex Pledger set to return to NZNBL for the Southland Sharks.

There is heart warming news from four-time NBL Champion Alex Pledger, who was at the heart of the Breakers’ defence for the club’s championship years.’s Marc Hinton is reporting that the 36-year-old will return to the court at the end of the month, two years after being diagnosed with cancer.

The two-time NZ NBL winner will run out for the Southland Sharks and is hoping to play the final nine games of the regular season.

Hinton reports:

It’s no stretch to say Pledger has been to hell and back since that fateful day in late-March ‘21 when doctors informed him he had colorectal cancer.

First, there was the reality that his body had been invaded by a disease that could kill him, and then the painstaking process of dealing with it.  All while a pandemic upped the degree of angst exponentially.

“I’ve obviously been through quite a bit, so we’ll see how things go when I get down there,” said Pledger from his Hamilton home. After only commencing training at the start of the year, he’s realistic about what he’ll be able to give.

“I’m just looking forward to being a part of the group down there. I’ve missed that the last couple of years.”

The last two years have been horrendous - radiation treatment, chemotherapy, major surgery, and then having an ostomy bag fitted.

All tests since his surgery have come back free of cancer, but it’s a regime of assessment he will continue for five years before doctors give a full signoff.

However, it was the reversal of the stoma pouch last November that allowed him to contemplate the fairytale hoops return, which, when the Sharks reached out earlier this year, became a reality.

“In my mind, I’ve always wanted to give it one more go, but I understood in the situation I was in, it just might not have been possible.”

Through it all the support from the hoops community has been unwavering.

“I think I heard from almost everybody that I had not just played with but even been associated with. Coaches, college coaches, teammates, former imports I played with, and even some I played against.

"It was amazing to have support from that many people."


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