by Alex Massey
The dizzying heights of an NBL championship and co-vice-captaincy of WA's most successful sporting team were never a sure thing for Greg Hire.
The 201cm Perth Wildcat admits drugs and alcohol were prevalent in his teenage years, and that without mentoring his life may have spiralled out of control.
"I cannot ignore my past, and there was a time there where my life could have gone down a different path," Hire said.
"I struggled with negative thoughts and consequently my actions aligned with harmful behaviour to others and myself.
"Fortunately, I had extremely supportive friends and family to mentor and guide me."
Equipped with the knowledge that he turned his own life around, Hire has gone about helping other teens do the same.
The 27-year-old, already credited for saving at least two at-risk WA teenagers and mentoring countless more, has launched a charity to raise money for Youth Focus, a service that helps young people and their families deal with issues associated with depression and self-harm.
The charity A Stitch in Time will collect funds through the online auctioning of sports memorabilia - and items will not be limited to basketball.
Hire's contacts in the US sent a signed LeBron James jersey, which raised more than $4000 for Youth Focus.
Items for auction include game-worn shoes signed by Wildcats stars Shawn Redhage, Damian Martin and Jesse Wagstaff. Visit http://stitchintime.org.au/ to bid.
If you or someone you know is thinking of suicide, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.