Newcastle basketballer Katie Ebzery announced her retirement on Thursday, saying "I knew my head and my heart just weren't in it" after a challenging 18 months and a disappointing Tokyo Olympics for the Opals.
At just 31, the two-time Olympian ended a career which featured 305 WNBL games and a place in the national team since 2014.
Based in Sydney, the three-time All-WNBL Team selection recently started a PE teaching role at Redlands in Cremorne and wants to focus on work, family and enjoying other sports.
"It's just the right time," said Ebzery, who played with the AIS, Dandenong, Sydney Uni and Perth in the WNBL.
"Just in the WNBL alone, it's been half my life. It's been a big part of my life. Basketball starts at a young age and I've been in it since I was young enough to watch my mum play.
"It's just time for me to have a new challenge and move into something else and I'm really looking forward to it."
The point guard said retirement had been in the back of her mind leading into the COVID-delayed Tokyo Games, where the Opals exited in the quarter-finals.
"The last 18 months have been quite challenging with a WNBL hub, relocating for that, then we had to relocate from Perth this year to do quarantine in preparation for the Olympics, so a lot has happened which has probably contributed to the decision," she said.
"But everyone has had to deal with different things these past 18 months.
"... I've been very lucky, my body has held up really well through the years. I've had a few niggly things the past couple of years but I still feel I can play at a high level, but my effort and my drive isn't there and I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so I know I can't do something 50 per cent.
"I knew my head and my heart just weren't in it."
She said a second Olympics was "a good way to wrap it up" after a career highlighted by world championships silver and Gold Coast Commonwealth Games victory in 2018.
"It was disappointing with how the Olympics went, but in hindsight, not having an international competition for 18 months when the rest of the world had moved on was a bit of a disadvantage and it really showed," she said. "But it is what it is and I'm really proud of us for getting to that point and doing our best.
"Silver at 2018 world championships is a real highlight and being able to do a Commonwealth Games on home soil was a really amazing opportunity as well."
Ebzery lamented ending her career without a championship but said she was proud of how far she had come.
"Obviously everyone wants to win a championship," she said.
"Through a combination of different things, it just hasn't worked out that way, but I'm pretty proud of the teams I was a part of and how we played. I think I've always left everything out on the floor, so I'm pretty happy with what I've done.
"It was always a goal to do some of the things I've been able to, but you never know how it's going to pan out.
"Just coming from humble beginning at the old Broadmeadow Basketball Stadium, I'm pretty happy with everything I've been able to achieve and some of the things I've had to overcome."
Ebzery left the door ajar for a return to the Newcastle Hunters side in the state league after a break from the game.
"For now I'm just really looking forward to not stepping foot in basketball stadiums 80 per cent of my time and maybe going to play touch football or netball," she said.
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