Breakers supporter Donald James was shocked when 1.96 metre tall Dillon Boucher walked into his lounge and shook his hand.
The 74-year-old Gulf Harbour fan had got used to watching his favourite basketball player on television and was startled to meet him in the flesh.
The surprise visit came about after Matt Carter, 14, knocked on Mr James' door selling first aid kits to fundraise so he could enter a Tauranga volleyball competition.
"Colleen, Mr James' caregiver, answered and she introduced me to Don," says Matt, who also lives in Gulf Harbour.
After learning Mr James shared his passion for basketball - and selling him a first aid kit - Matt returned to give him Breakers guard Daryl Corletto's singlet.
"He said it's the best thing he's had all year and from that I said ‘Dad, we've gotta do something'," Matt says.
Matt's dad is New Zealand Breakers director Ant Carter.
"We thought we may as well get a book and we'll get Dillon to sign it," Mr Carter says.
"Then Dillon being the man he is, he said ‘we can do one better than that. I'll bring it up and present it'."
So the plan to bring Dillon to Mr James' house was hatched.
Mr James used to play basketball himself but now suffers from Parkinson's disease and is looked after by Colleen Pringle.
"I was so touched because Matt could see that he wasn't well and he gave up something of his own," Ms Pringle says.
"People say boys of 14 haven't got compassion but just seeing the compassion Matt has is just amazing," she says.
"It was too much for the old eyelids," Mr James says about the singlet gift. So Dillon's visit had him completely overawed.
The former Tall Black retired from Australia's National Basketball League last year after playing in three consecutive championships with the New Zealand Breakers.
- Rodney Times
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