When Mandurah Magic legend Casey “Milo” Mihovilovich first took to a State Basketball League court as a starry-eyed 14-year-old, she could never have imagined becoming one of the longest standing players in the competition’s history.
The year was 1996 – John Howard had just dumped Paul Keating out of office, the Spice Girls recorded their first number one and Atlanta was preparing to host the Olympic Games.
And back home, Mandurah’s soon-to-be superstar was donning a Magic uniform for the first time.
Fast-forward 22 seasons, a countless amount of surgeries and a pair of pregnancies, and Mihovilovich is still notching some of the league’s best numbers and helping her team to be a powerhouse in the competition.
The SBL stalwart played game 450 (all with the Magic) against the Willetton Tigers on Sunday, and while milestones are growing less-significant to our local legend as time goes on, she admitted stepping onto the court was a special moment.
“In my mind I was thinking ‘well, I’m just going to play game 451 next week, so what?’, but there was a small moment there that made me reflect on the journey,” she said.
“At that point it felt like I’d played 1000 games. I started thinking of everyone I’ve met, everyone who has shaped me to be who I am today. That got to me a bit.”
Mihovilovich’s time with the Magic has been filled with remarkable achievements.
Seven all-star selections (which could easily become eight this season), a league MVP and five grand final appearances are just some of the glittering moments that occupy her timeline in the league.
But it hasn’t been all trophies and triumphs for Mandurah’s favourite basketballer.
Mihovilovich has had to overcome arguably more hardship than any SBL player on her way to 450 games, a milestone that would already be well in the rear view had injuries not hampered her time with the Magic.
Five separate hand surgeries, a hamstring procedure and osteitis pubis are just some of the ailments she can name off the top of her head.
Years ago her surgeon told her another injury would spell the end of her career, and with her response locked and loaded she replied: “I’ll just find another surgeon.”
During her 22 years she has also spent time away from the gym to give birth to her sons, Brock and Will.
But when asked what’s gotten her through 450 games, and however many is yet to come, her answer was simple.
“Family,” she said.
“My boys and my husband Ben push me to keep playing, they’re what gets me out of bed in the morning.
“But also my extended family at the Magic. My teammates are like sisters to me, and to be honest I just don’t know what else I’d do if I wasn’t playing.”
Mihovilovich currently sits in second on the all-time games played list for the State Basketball League, and will add two more to her tally in a double-header this weekend.