Mike Pero Nelson Giant Ali Granger with Brad Maclachlan's Giants singlet from the 2005 season. Ali found the singlet and decided to post it down to his friend who is now in a wheelchair after a helicopter crash. Photo: Jessie Johnston.

Giants’ garage sale unearths sentimental singlet

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Local basketball fans got the chance to grab themselves a piece of Nelson basketball memorabilia last Sunday when the Mike Pero Nelson Giants put some of their old gear up for sale.

“We’ve got a big container that we put our gear in between seasons, so we just had a big clean out of all the stuff that was just sitting there,” says Mike Pero Nelson Giants administrator, Janie Granger.

Items included former playing singlets and shorts, track pants, balls and other Nelson Giants-branded items.

“The gear isn’t ancient, when the sponsors change you can’t use the gear anymore and it seemed a waste to dump it when people can get some use out of it,” says Janie.

When Janie’s son and current Giants player Ali Granger was looking through some of the items prior to the sale, he came across the singlet of his friend and former team mate, Brad Maclachlan.

“A lot of the time you don’t get to keep the uniform because they need it for the next year’s preseason, and then they just sort of get put away and never get given to the people who wore them,” says Ali.

Brad and Ali got to know each other through the U17 South Island team. Originally from Te Anau, Brad was encouraged to further his basketball career elsewhere and Ali, who was already part of the wider Giants training group, told him to come to Nelson College, which he did.

After playing for the Nelson Giants for a year or so, Brad decided to focus on a career in helicopters, and began training to be a pilot.

Two years ago, he was involved in a helicopter crash that left him a paraplegic, although he still works for a helicopter business down in Franz Josef.

Ali and Brad in Franz Josef earlier this month.  Photo: Jessie Johnston
Ali and Brad in Franz Josef earlier this month. Photo: Jessie Johnston

Ali, who recently got back from visiting Brad, says he hasn’t told his former team mate about the singlet and will be posting it down as a surprise.

“I would say he does have some gear from when he played but that was six or seven years ago, so it’s going to get worn out. It’s good memorabilia and he’s just bought a house so he can hang it on the wall in his man cave or shed,” says Ali.

“He’s got a whole new life down there and most of his friends wouldn’t even know that he was a semi-pro basketball player.”