Emotional David Andersen ends his NBL basketball career

Australian basketball legend David Andersen is usually modest when he says he “tapped his basketball career for all it was worth”.

Beginning with Wollongong Hawks in 1998 and ending with Championship-winning side Melbourne United in 2021, Andersen announces his retirement with a resume that has to be seen to be believed.

Twenty three years. 22 leagues/cups. Four Olympic campaigns. Andersen’s career is a story of skill, resilience and hard work.

“There’s been a lot of times in my career where I thought ‘oh, s— this could be the end’ and you get overwhelmed by that,” Andersen told ESPN. “I kept fighting, I’m a very resilient person.”

He doesn’t shy away from his love for the game, with the passion to stay on the pitch prolonging his career in recent years as he now embraces 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 become more important. I’ve spoken to a lot of my peers and teammates along the way. They m gave advice.

“You have to hang them up one day and I’ve been blessed with many years and many great experiences from the game.”

The 41-year-old describes his second NBL championship with United as the “cherry on top” of a glittering career, although he cites an NBA championship and an Olympic medal as the few accolades that have eluded him.

Like many of the Boomers who helped pave the way to the historic bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, an emotional Andersen watched with pride as Patty Mills led the team to the podium.

“It was very emotional. That moment when we were up a certain amount, it was unbelievable,” Andersen said.

“I feel like we laid the groundwork for that. Go back to playing New Zealand in 2003 and people thought we were going to lose and miss the Olympics. We were washing clothes in bathtubs during tours in Italy and now the professionalism is next level.

“It’s great and it’s reflected 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. is a testament to people’s willingness 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 step into the admin side of the game as the player liaison officer.

“I spoke extensively with Larry (Kestelman) and Jeremy (Loeliger) to see what they thought. They always approached me to call them when I was thinking of hanging up on them and seeing if there was a role,” did he declare. .

“They have a top-tier commercial team behind them, business-minded people and wanted a player’s perspective. They can lean on me for advice on how players react and what we can do to develop the sport further I will learn a lot and find my way in the administrative side of the game while being involved in the sport and promoting it using my networks and people skills to move it forward in the good direction.”

In addition to his role in 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 a lot of things to entertain me and it’s family time,” he said. “I have three children who are quite young. I have an agricultural business which I am trying to learn and manage. I am learning a lot and then I will have this role with the NBL.

“Things will evolve. I’m not putting too much pressure on myself. Everyone asks if you want to be a coach and I feel like I could help with that but right now I don’t want to dive in there- in it 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 changes a bit. You have to let go of some things and be flexible and evolving. There are a lot of doors to open and I’m going to take it one step at a time.”

Andersen retires 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 the numbers wrong,” he laughs.

“I’ve won a lot of titles, it’s been a hell of a career. I never thought I’d keep doing this. It was a great time, I squeezed the lemon for all it was worth. “

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