Brisbane Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis broke down in tears as he described veteran Mika Vukona's willingness to risk a career-ending injury to try to keep his team's ANBL season alive.
The hard-nosed Bullets leader had been battling injury all year and – with his new club staring down the barrel of playoffs elimination - pleaded with his coach to allow him to play.
"It was a devastating conversation with him," Lemanis recalled.
"He's got a partial tear in his Achilles and he didn't want me to tell anybody, and he was prepared to risk his career, play on it and hope that it didn't snap.
"That's what it meant for him and I wasn't prepared to let him do that."
Lemanis revealed that he'd essentially been forced to release Vukona to play for the Tall Blacks during the recent World Cup qualifying window rather than rest him, after Basketball NZ threatened him with a sanction.
The pair's relationship stems back to their years with the New Zealand Breakers, where they won three-straight ANBL championships together between 2011 and 2013.
The Bullets' loss to the Perth Wildcats saw them knocked out of the ANBL playoffs, going down 0-2 in their semi-finals series.
In the other semi-final series, Melbourne United currently lead the Sydney Kings 1-0, with game two to be played on Sunday.