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Family First as Bullet Sobey Has Plenty on his Plate

Written for nbl.com.au by Chris Pike

While trying to keep the Brisbane Bullets afloat this season on return from his knee injury, Nathan Sobey's focus is also on keeping his family safe and secure, dealing with the trauma of having their home invaded and wishing for his Olympic bronze medal to return.

There's quite a lot going on in the life of Sobey, his wife CC and their two young children right now, and around them.

That includes South East Queensland dealing with torrential rain and floods right now. Then on Saturday evening while Sobey was helping the Bullets beat the Tasmania JackJumpers and his family was at Nissan Arena to watch, their family home was broken into.

Having your home violated and your personal belongings either trashed, sorted through or stolen is dramatic enough, but perhaps the most meaningful item in that house was the Olympic bronze medal Sobey won as part of the Australian Boomers in Tokyo last year.

It's bewildering why anyone would take something so meaningless to them but so meaningful to Sobey so that just adds to what he is dealing with right now having just returned from a knee injury and playing under minutes restrictions at the moment.

There's a lot happening in Sobey's world, but above all else is making sure his wife CC, two-year-old daughter Harley and two-month-old son Oakley are safe takes priority.

"Obviously the ups and downs with how we've been going this year is frustrating and then just been getting back on the court this week to help out as much as I could felt good for sure," Sobey said.

"I'm glad that we got a win finally, it's been a while and hopefully we can sort of build from that and continue some more wins as they go down the back end of the season. Then you factor in everything else going on, obviously the whole situation with the break in of the house really sucks. 

"To know that someone has been through all your stuff and your kid's things and all that is not the best feeling, especially for my wife. That's very frustrating but I'm just glad that the family is all OK and that everyone is safe and healthy."

When Sobey was at Nissan Arena on Saturday night, he thought it was a good day and night. The Bullets snapped their three-game losing run to beat the JackJumpers and Sobey moved back into the starting line-up and produced 14 points, four rebounds and two assists.

However, that all changed when he returned home. He realised the family home had been broken into and not only was the bronze medal stolen, but all the belongings of his, his wife and their children had been gone through.

"It actually happened while we were at the game. Me and Jase left for the game at about 2.30 for the 4.30 start and our partners probably left at around 4pm or just before I think. Then I was able to go home at just before 7pm so they've done it in that little two-hour window or so while nobody was home," Sobey said.

"Obviously it's not the best feeling knowing that someone's been through and gone through your house, and what not, but for what it means now it's definitely secured up pretty good and it won't happen again. I know it's a bit late but I'll continue to do what's best to look after the family moving forward."

As for the bronze medal, all Sobey wants is to get it back no matter how it happens. Whoever took it, can't sell it because there's no one who would give them any money to make it worth it, it means nothing to them to own it and there's just no benefit to them having it.

However, for Sobey it means the world and it's the most prized possession from his basketball career obviously and it means everything to all of Australian basketball.

"I'm just glad the family's all right and all that sort of stuff, but at the same time it sucks that someone has stolen out after how hard your work for those sorts of things," he said. 

"It means a lot not just to me but to Australian basketball in general so to have that taken away does sort of sting a fair bit. But it really is nothing for everyone else but myself in terms of what it's value is. 

"No one can do anything with it or make any money off it, it's really just more of a thing that they can hang onto for no reason really. It is very pointless to someone else but it would be great if that would return home somehow for sure."

Throw in the fact that Brisbane and the surrounding areas, and now parts of northern NSW are dealing with floods after the continued deluge of rain means that there's plenty going on around as well.

Sobey is relieved that he hasn’t been directly affected, but feels for all those who have.

"The floods haven’t got to us to us, but there's a lot of people going through a lot of stuff up here at the moment and you drive and see some parts of the city in and out of Brisbane, and what people are going through and it sort of puts in perspective what I've been going through," Sobey said. 

"It allows you to see you are still a lot better off than what a lot of people are going through. It's some pretty devastating times for a lot of people up here."

On a more positive front, Sobey and his wife CC are enjoying watching newborn son Oakley quickly grow up under the watchful eye of his big sister Harley.

"It's going good and the little fella is growing quick. The little fella is two months old now and it's gone by really fast," he said. 

"He's growing quick and he's starting to learn things, and he's smiling around a lot. He's just happy and so are we, he has been awesome and I can't complain on that front."

On the basketball front, the Bullets have some work to do at 6-10 to remain in the playoff mix in #NBL22 with 12 games of their season to go, but Sobey is confident they can stay alive.

With himself working back to form and fitness, and with superstars Lamar Patterson and Robert Franks, and the leadership and guidance of Jason Cadee and other handy weapons, he's got no doubt they have the tools needed.

"We definitely have the right tools and enough of them and what not, it's just that putting it together on a consistent basis, and figuring out what it takes to win with how hard it is to do this league," Sobey said. 

"And to do it consistently can be very hard and any night you don't come ready to play in this league it comes back to bite you. 

"That's happened to us a few times and we've sort of gone through a patch where we've really struggled, but hopefully we are coming out the end of that and are starting to figure out how to win those games when it comes down to it."

Coming off helping Australia's success in Tokyo last year, Sobey came into this NBL season on a high and started strongly over the first 10 games before succumbing to a knee injury that saw him miss the next four games.

He's been on a minutes restriction since returning and that's gradually being built up, but he's just relieved to be back on the floor and continuing his 202-game NBL career.

"I admit it, I'm probably not the best person to sit there and watch basketball games so it definitely hurt not being able to be out there and try to help my team win, especially in situations where you think you could really impact and maybe help the team get over the lines a few times there," he said.

"Maybe things don't look as bad if we had a couple more wins so it was hard just sitting there. Then coming back with minutes restrictions it's hard again, but at the end of the day I'm just happy to be back on the basketball court playing even if it means with restrictions. 

"If that means moving forward I'll be better for it, then so be it. It is tough, but it is what it is for now."

Sobey and the Bullets now face a significant test against the league-leading Melbourne United on Saturday at John Cain Arena, but it's a challenge he is looking forward to and the chance to battle Boomers teammates Chris Goulding and Matthew Dellavedova.

"What I said before about how hard it is to win in this league, Melbourne is consistently one of those teams that does it," Sobey said. 

"Going into Melbourne is not going to be an easy thing to do especially against United so we've got to be ready to play and bring our A-game if we want to take a big step forward in what we're doing.

"I wouldn’t say it's strange playing those guys, that's all just part of it and obviously when we get together for the Boomers with the culture we have and have been able to build really shows. 

"But once we play against each other, it's the ultimate competitiveness and all of us will do whatever it takes to win the basketball game. 

"No one takes that personally or anything like that, and at the end of the day we know when the games are over we're still mates and when we meet up again with the Boomers, nothing changes from that aspect."

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