The name Opal has two special meanings for Alex Bunton.
It's the name of her 18-month-old daughter and it acts as a reminder of one of the highest points in her basketball career, a chapter of her life she thought was behind her.
However, Bunton is staging a remarkable comeback to the game she has loved for more than 13 years. After retiring in 2019, following her 11th knee surgery, she is making her WNBL comeback this season with the Capitals.
Following a season in Russia, a silver medal with the Opals at the 2018 World Cup and an impressive start with the Sydney Flames, she was on the brink of another international stint.
Before another knee injury proved to be the final straw for her playing career, forcing her to choose between basketball, or continual knee pain for the rest of her life.
"Rest was the cure for me," she said.
"If you look at my history I never really got a break, I was always playing catch up. I was consistently trying to get back. I think my body, and especially my knees, just needed to have a break and be able to heal, and I never really got that."
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The realisation she will return to the court in Canberra, after she thought her basketball journey had ended, is not lost on Bunton.
And her daughter's name has a nod to her love for the game.
"I didn't want to believe that it was true, because I worked so hard to prove myself," she said.
"When I retired ... I was actually told that I couldn't have kids or it'd be very, very hard to have kids. So when I fell pregnant, it meant so much to me, and I don't look at it so much as like Opals basketball it's just this name that was part of my identity. And ... if I could never play for the Opals again, I just thought I need to hold on to something like that.
"So when you sit here now and go ... I honestly have no stress, I'm the happiest I've ever been ... it's an indescribable feeling to be honest."
Bunton credits her nearly two years away to allow her knees to heal, her pregnancy and the niggling feeling that her basketball journey was not over for her return this season.
Her journey back began on an outdoor court on the Mid North Coast.
"I literally went to Kmart, bought a basketball and I was like, 'I'm gonna shoot some hoops', and the second I did I was like, 'I'm not that bad, this is alright, I haven't lost it'," she said.
"It was actually a really humbling experience to do it on my own terms. I just started, I was in the gym and I was like, I'm just going to see how I feel and each week I was doing more and more and more - I can do box jumps, I can do squats, I can do things that I didn't, or couldn't, do before."
Capitals coach Paul Goriss was also instrumental in getting her back to basketball. The pair stayed in contact after her retirement and one phone call changed everything.
"Basketball really wasn't in the picture, because I was focusing on being a mum and trying to figure out what my place was in this world post basketball, and then a couple of weeks ago he gave me a buzz," Bunton said.
"I said 'I am in a really good place ... I'm pain free. There's no stress on me, there's no stress on my body, I've been challenging myself in different ways' and he just said, 'would you like to play?'.
"I was like, 'I've be waiting for this moment.'"
The 27-year-old is putting no pressure on herself for her comeback, but she said the moment she steps on the court, her competitive side would take over.