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Micaela Cocks retires from Tall Ferns

Updated: Mar 21


Micaela Cocks
Tall Ferns guard Micaela Cocks will end her international career with 145 appearances for New Zealand. PHOTO: BBNZ

After 145 appearances in the black jersey – the most in Tall Ferns history – veteran guard Micaela Cocks announced on Tuesday her retirement from international basketball.


In a celebrated career for the New Zealand women's team, which has spanned 17 years and countless major tournaments, from the 2008 Beijing Olympics and Commonwealth Games to the 3x3 Asia Cup, Cocks earned a reputation as a hard-nosed player and a leader on and off the court.


She said the decision to retire came after a long period of reflection, as she prepared for the birth of her second child.


“It wasn’t a sudden decision for me, it just kind of happened over time as I was starting a family. I might still decide to play domestically (in NBL1 in Australia) after my next baby, or I might not. It’s still open for me,” said Cocks.


“The main reason for my retirement is to concentrate on family. My daughter Hazel is three now, and although I’ve been to a couple of Tall Ferns camps, I haven’t been in a competition since 2019 thanks to Covid. I’ve just found that I wanted to put Hazel first and I didn’t want to take her out of her routine all the time to drag her off to an overseas competition.


“Also with my age [turning 38 in May], there’s a really good group of younger players coming through the ranks, so now just feels like a good time to step away. I don’t want to be the old slow person on the squad, and if I’m in something then I want to be 100 percent committed to it. And I couldn’t do that with this group.”


Micaela Cocks
Micaela Cocks is the only Tall Fern to claim medals at two Commonwealth Games. PHOTO: BBNZ

Cocks said she would always treasure the camaraderie and family atmosphere that came with playing for the Tall Ferns.


“It’s always been my favourite team to play for. I’ve lived in Australia for so long now, so whenever I got to go back with the Tall Ferns, it felt like family. It didn’t matter how long you hadn’t seen your Kiwi teammates for, it felt easy and it was always such a great family feel.”

 

At 145 games, Cocks has played more games for the Tall Ferns than any other athlete, 27 more than Rebecca Cotton and Leanne Walker, tied for second at 118.


Cocks grew up in Auckland, attending Takapuna Grammar and representing North Harbour as a teen. She debuted for the Tall Ferns as an 18-year-old, suiting up for the 2005 William Jones Cup in Taiwan, before being part of a New Zealand squad that claimed silver at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne the following year.





When she also appeared at the 2018 Gold Coast event – earning bronze – she became the first Tall Fern to appear in multiple Commonwealth Games.


Arguably her pinnacle achievement came in 2008, when she played for the Tall Ferns at the Beijing Olympics, all while juggling a college playing career for the University of Oregon Ducks in the United States.


She subsequently participated in Olympic qualifying tournaments in 2012 and 2016, with the Tall Ferns falling short both times.


In 2018, Cocks helped the 3x3 Tall Ferns to gold medals at the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup, where she was named tournament MVP. The following year she was named to the All-Star Five at the 2019 William Jones Cup, averaging 17.2 points as New Zealand finished second.


That same year she was the Tall Ferns leading scorer at the 2019 FIBA Asia Cup, averaging 10.8 points.

She last suited up for the Tall Ferns in 2022, joining the squad in Melbourne for a four-game friendly series versus a trio of WNBL teams.

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