How Bullets guard Jason Cadee dodged death to fulfil his NBL dream
Jason Cadee still has visions of the day he dodged death.
Eleven years have passed since Cadee was involved in car accident on the M7 motorway in Sydney, but the memories remain.
The then Bankstown Bruins guard was driving home from training when a semi-trailer had veered out of its lane and pushed him off the road.
Cadee’s car went into a spin and parked itself at right angles across one of Sydney’s busiest highways.
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In an instant, he was crumpled against the middle console of the car, leaving him trapped for 90 minutes, and fearing his time on this earth was finished.
“Anyone else probably dies on that day and somehow I didn’t,” Cadee reflected.
“That is one moment that will always stick with me.
“The moment of seeing the truck coming and thinking, ‘this is it – it is all done’.
“I was lucky I didn’t die on a day when I probably should of.”
Thankfully, Cadee lived to fight another day, although he was left with a broken pelvis.
The injury forced him to delay his NBL debut with the now defunct Gold Coast Blaze and withdraw from the Boomers squad.
All of that matters little now, because Cadee has a blessed life as professional basketballer, a husband, and a father to two kids – including recently born baby girl, Scarlett Leni.
It’s perspective that certainly isn’t lost on the Bullets guard.
“This is my twelfth season in the NBL, I’ve played over 300 games, and I love being able to be around my family,” he said.
“I guess now to be 11 years removed from the accident, having played basketball the whole time since and I’ve had two kids.
“When I was trapped in the car all I wanted to do is play basketball again, whereas now as a father I’d miss being a dad.
“It’s crazy how your mindset can evolve over time.”
Cadee received interest over the off-season to return to the Sydney Kings, where he has previously played four seasons between 2014 and 2018, but he opted to stay in Brisbane.
As a Greenacre boy, born and bred, he concedes there is always going to be a connection to the Kings.
“I’m from Sydney and I feel like in my time there that I had a good impact on the club and the community,” Cadee said ahead of Brisbane’s home game against the Kings on Friday night.
“When you are in Sydney, you are out doing promotions and visiting schools where I had friends at and seeing people left, right and centre who watched me play as a junior.
“The Kings went through a number of changes this off-season and there was a lot going on this off-season, maybe more than ever before.
“The link will always be there, whether it actually happens, I don’t know, but I’m in a very good place in Brisbane right now.”
Cadee’s mother, Debbie, played for the Opals at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
Dad, Robbie, represented the Boomers at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, and later coached the Opals at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul while he was also heavily involved in Basketball administration in Western Sydney.
“So, I feel like I was born with a basketball in my hands,” Cadee said.
“Basketball is all I ever remember to be honest. From a young age, I was around a court or playing.
“Dad was with the West Sydney Slammers, which was a SEABL team and that transformed into the Razorbacks and that was my childhood.
“My parents would pick me up from school on a Friday, I’d go straight to the State Sports Centre and wipe the floors and mess around until the game started.
“We wouldn’t get home from the game until midnight, but that was my weekends.
“It is all I’ve ever known and it’s something that I feel very lucky to be a part of because I’ve met so many great people.”
PLAYING UNDER ROYALTY
There are only 11 NBL players this season who have a 100 per cent record from the free-throw line – and Cadee is one.
The Bullets guard is 16 from 16 from the penalty stripe. He credits his consistency to former Kings coach Andrew Gaze instilling fear in him every time he missed a free-throw.
“Gazey hates when people miss free-throws,” Cadee grinned.
“When I was at the Kings with him, I’d go to the line always thinking if I miss it, ‘Drewy is going to be so angry’.
“So, he would see my current free-throw record and be ecstatic, but filthy that I didn’t do this for him.”
Banter aside, Cadee has the highest respect for Gaze as a coach and man.
“I loved being coached by Gazey,” he said.
“I recently said to my dad that I’d play for Drewy any day of the week.
“I really enjoyed the mix of Gazey, Copeland and Vickerman when I was at the Kings.
“Every day was fun, and I really enjoyed the environment, and it was purely because of Drewy and how he is as a person.”
Cadee has played 11 seasons in the NBL, and he is yet to win a championship.
The closest he came was in the 2013/14 season when he helped the Adelaide 36ers reach the grand final series against the Perth Wildcats.
The 36ers lost the series 2-1, fuelling a desire in Cadee to take that final step and lift a trophy.
He hopes a talented Bullets side can help him achieve his championship dream this season.
“I just want to win a title,” Cadee said.
“I had that experience in the grand final with Adelaide after coming last the year before.
“I always knew this Bullets team wasn’t as bad as people had predicted in the pre-season, but now we just need to be consistent.”
Originally published as How Bullets guard Jason Cadee dodged death to fulfil his NBL dream
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