Australian basketball legend David Andersen is generally modest when he says he “pushed his basketball career for all it was worth”.
Starting with the Wollongong Hawks in 1998 and ending with the Melbourne United Championship winning side in 2021, Andersen announces his retirement with a resume that must be seen to be believed.
Twenty three years. 22 championships / cups. Four Olympic campaigns. Andersen’s career is one of skill, resilience and hard work.
“There have been a lot of times in my career where I thought ‘oh, s — this could be the end’ and you’re overwhelmed by that,” Andersen told ESPN. “I kept on fighting, I am a very resilient person.”
He doesn’t shy away from his love for the game, with the passion to stay on the pitch, extending his career in recent years as he now moves into the next phase of his life.
“It’s sad in some ways, but exciting in others because you’re stepping into a different world. Other things get more important. I’ve spoken to a lot of my peers and teammates along the way. ‘gave advice.
“You have to hang them up someday and I have been fortunate to have many years and many great experiences from the game.”
The 41-year-old describes his second NBL championship with United as the “icing on the cake” of a brilliant career, although he mentions an NBA championship and an Olympic medal as the few accolades that have escaped him.
Like many baby boomers who helped lead the way to the historic bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, an emotional Andersen proudly watched Patty Mills lead the team to the podium.
“It was very emotional. That moment when we were up a certain amount, it was amazing,” said Andersen.
“I feel like we laid the groundwork for it. Go back and play in New Zealand in 2003 and people thought we were going to lose and miss the Olympics. We wash clothes in tubs on tour. in Italy and now professionalism is next level.
“It’s great and that reflects in the results and the culture. Playing for the Boomers was 12 guys coming together, not to make money, they’re there for the love of the game. C ‘is a testament to the willingness of people to wear green and gold for their country and I was one of those guys. “
In a coup for the NBL, Andersen is set to embark on the administrator side of the game as a player liaison officer.
“I spoke at length with Larry (Kestelman) and Jeremy (Loeliger) to see what they were thinking. They always approached me to call them when I thought to hang them up and see if there was a role,” he said. he declared. .
“They have a strong sales team behind them, business people and wanted a player’s point of view. They can lean on me for advice on how the players are reacting and what we can do to further develop the sport. I am going to learn a lot and find my way on the administrator side of the game while remaining involved in the sport and promoting it using my networks and my relationship skills to move it forward in the right direction. direction.”
In addition to his role with the NBL, Andersen is eager to escape the endless pressures that come with being a professional athlete for the first time in over 20 years.
“I have plenty of things to entertain myself and it’s family time,” he said. “I have three children who are quite young. I have a farming business that I am trying to learn and manage. I am learning a lot and then I will have this role with the NBL.
“Things will change. I’m not putting too much pressure on myself. Everyone asks me if you want to be a coach and I feel like I could help in that direction, but right now I don’t want to dive. in there full time because it’s quite demanding, it’s more about balancing life and giving back to my family and the game.
“It’s a balancing act and I’m learning the ropes because when you’re a basketball player it’s pretty selfish and you have your routines but now it kind of changes. You have to let go of some things and be flexible and evolving. There are a lot of doors to open and I will take it step by step. “
Andersen is retiring as one of Australia’s most decorated players, with those 22 titles won in Australia, Italy, Spain, Russia, Turkey and France.
“It’s a good list. I was afraid of getting my numbers wrong,” he laughs.
“I’ve won a lot of titles; it’s been a hell of a career. I never thought I would keep doing this thing. It’s been a good time; I squeezed the lemon for all it was worth. . “