When Suzie Bates partied with the ‘Redeem Team’

Suzie Bates. © Getty Images

Suzie Bates, who represented New Zealand’s basketball team, the ‘Tall Ferns’, at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, revealed how she and her teammates ended up at a party with the USA men’s basketball team. The team, nicknamed the ‘Redeem Team’, included several superstars including the likes of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and the late Kobe Bryant.

“It’s probably the highlight of my life,” said  Bates, speaking on the second episode of the New Zealand Cricket cast hosted by media manager Willy Nicholls. “I have a few regrets because I was 19 or 20 and I was very shy and just couldn’t string any sentences together.”

ALSO READ: Chose cricket because of opportunity, says Suzie Bates

“We got invited to party with the USA basketball team. I’m not sure how I think some of the girls had just talked to their security and next minute we were on this bus going to an outdoor rooftop party with the Dream Team. David Beckham was also there and that’s all I can remember really.”

“That was like the pinnacle for me, there was no further I could go so had to call it a day.”

Bates, who served as captain of the New Zealand cricket team for eight years, was at one point very close to accepting a college scholarship for basketball in the United States of America. However, following her successful stint in the 2008 Olympics, the double international turned her focus solely to cricket in 2009 when she appeared in two World Cups for New Zealand.

The 32-year-old added that although basketball was her ‘first love’, at the time, cricket presented her with more opportunities and convinced her to let basketball go.

“Basketball was my first love, I just love basketball. It’s what I did in the winter, played cricket in the summer,” she said. “There was probably just more opportunities in New Zealand that kept me in cricket.”

“It wasn’t loving one more than the other, it was just the opportunities that came about.”