Kristi Harrower retires from basketball as a great of the game

RELATED: Bendigo sporting great Kristi Harrower announces retirement

PHOTOS: Kristi Harrower's basketball career

THREE Olympic silver medals, one Olympic bronze medal, world championship gold medal at senior and junior level, played in the WNBA and Europe, three WNBL championships, WNBL MVP… say no more, you get the drift.

It’s a basketball CV that few can beat.

Not bad for a 162cm “shrimp” from Bendigo.

When it comes to sport, the champion tag often gets thrown around loosely.

It’s a tag that should be reserved for the very elite of any chosen sport.

When it comes to Australian women’s basketball, Kristi Harrower sits very comfortably in the champion class.

As a teenager she was told she was too small to play basketball.

She proved her doubters wrong.

When she first made the Opals squad there was a school of thought she was not good enough to fill the point guard shoes of Michelle Timms.

She proved her doubters wrong.

So-called basketball experts in Europe and the US thought she wasn’t athletic enough to make it in the big leagues of world basketball.

She proved her doubters wrong.

Kristi Harrower walks away from basketball knowing she extracted every ounce of talent out of her 162cm body.

While some of her rivals might have been bigger and more athletic, they lacked Kristi’s hunger, determination and basketball smarts.

Kristi made her team-mates better players – that itself is the mark of a genuine star.

Her ability to call a spade a shovel also helped her become a world-class point guard.

It didn’t matter if it was Lauren Jackson or the 12th player on the Lady Braves’ roster – if they weren’t executing a play correctly Kristi let them know in no uncertain terms.

No matter what level Kristi was playing it was never about her.

The only thing Kristi wanted, whether it be the Olympics, the WNBA or the WNBL, was to win.

Take Kristi on in an arm wrestle or a game of noughts and crosses and she’ll find a way to beat you.

That’s what the Bendigo Spirit will miss the most –her will to win and ability to make the right play in the big moments.

The past two WNBL grand finals are a testament to that.

While there’s a hint of sadness knowing that we will never again see Kristi run the show for the Spirit, the memories of her making those three-point bombs from the car park or slashing to the basket between an opponent’s frontline to score will remain with Bendigo sports fans. 

Congratulations, Kristi, on a stunning career. 

The pleasure has been all ours.