Basketball has knocked down Anthony Petrie more times than he can remember, so it's understandable he's still pinching after the NBL finalised a landmark deal to play against NBA teams.
Petrie's Brisbane Bullets will play against the Phoenix Suns in a historic NBL-NBA pre-season fixture on October 14 as part of a three-game deal between the leagues.
It will be a massive moment for former Canberra Gunner Petrie, who has watched four of his NBL clubs fold because of financial pressure and battled injuries in a 10-year career.
The latest setback was a microfracture in his knee last season, and he spent three months on crutches at the start of the year learning how to bend his leg again.
But he was bouncing around with excitement on Tuesday after finding out about the looming clash against the Suns, a team he idolised in the early 1990s.
"I was mesmerised by the NBA when I was a kid, I followed Golden State and Chris Mullin was my favourite player," Petrie said.
"But the Phoenix Suns ... I have great memories of them. I still remember watching them and to have the opportunity to play over there, it's the stuff dreams are made of.
"For the NBA to have the respect that it's actually worthwhile, that speaks volumes for where the league is at right now."
The NBL is rebuilding its reputation after being bashed by financial dramas and waning interest since Petrie broke into the league in 2007.
The deal with the NBA is another major step forward for the league's popularity and Petrie says the players must take their chance to showcase Australian basketball to the rest of the world.
The Bullets will play the Suns while the Sydney Kings will clash against the Utah Jazz and Melbourne United will play against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The three-game series is part of NBL owner Larry Kestelman's vision to reinvigorate the competition's to its glory years of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Petrie has seen the NBL in its darkest days. He made his debut for the West Sydney Razorbacks a decade ago, but the club went bust soon after.
He signed a two-year deal in Brisbane, but they went bust as well before he could start training.
The 34-year-old moved to the Illawarra Hawks and they, too, appeared on the brink of disaster before the Wollongong community saved them from extinction.
His next stop was the Gold Coast Blaze, but they folded after three seasons. At one point, Petrie joked his brother offered him a teaching job, $50 a game and a can of coke to play rugby league in 2012.
He's since found stable ground in Adelaide and Brisbane, made his debut for Australia in 2013 and will play against NBA millionaires.
"There's been a lot of ups and downs. But to have something great like this ... it's wonderful recognition for the growth of the game here and the strength of the NBL," Petrie said.
"The league has been through some pretty tough times and I've been there for those, but to see the way it is now is a credit to the way it's being run.
"It's getting the recognition I feel it deserves is great to see."
Petrie, a father of four, is easing himself back into Bullets' training and is on track to play pre-season fixtures and be ready for a trip to Phoenix.
"We're all keen, not just for the chance against the Suns but I really think things will develop [for the Bullets] this year," he said.
"I always said I wanted to play until my mid 30s. If I'm still playing, making the team better and I'm happy ... I haven't thought about stopping to be honest.
"Some people asked [about retirement] when I did my knee. But my first instinct was to get back playing. That proved to me that I'm mentally still ready to go. I love it."