Boris Diaw, NBA champion and former Most Improved Player, announces his retirement … on a boat
One of the most interesting people in the NBA, and basketball in general, is calling it a career. Boris Diaw, who last played in the league in 2016-17, announced on Thursday afternoon that he is retiring from the game of basketball. His announcement came in the most Boris Diaw fashion — a video filmed while sitting on a boat in the ocean with Tony Parker and Ronny Turiaf.
“This is it… it was a good run,” Diaw wrote in his tweet marking the announcement. It certainly was for Diaw, who went on to have a fascinating career after being selected No. 21 overall in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks.
After struggling a bit in his first two seasons, Diaw was traded to the Phoenix Suns, where he blossomed into a versatile forward capable of playing multiple positions. He won Most Improved Player in 2006 following a stellar season, in which he helped the Suns get within two wins of the NBA Finals.
A few seasons later he was shipping to the then-Charlotte Bobcats, and helped the club make the playoffs for the first time in their new iteration as the Bobcats. But things soon went south for the franchise, and he was waived near the end of the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, during which the team recorded the worst record in NBA history at 7-59.
From there he joined the San Antonio Spurs, and eventually helped them win a title in 2014. He started the final three games of the Finals that season, and was instrumental in the Spurs’ dismantling of LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
He last played in the NBA with the Utah Jazz during the 2016-17 season.
In addition to his accolades in the NBA, he was a key part of a stellar French national team that won a silver medal at EuroBasket 2011, a gold medal at EuroBasket 2013 and a bronze medal at the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
Diaw was never a star, but he was an integral part of a number of highly successful squads, and helped usher in the era of position-less basketball. He will be remembered as a fan favorite as much for his play on the court, as his personality. He wrote a children’s book about hippos, had an espresso machine in his locker and turned himself into a wine-sipping meme.
Oh, and who can forget the time he out-jumped Amar’e Stoudemire while wearing flip-flops, which is worth re-reading in full.
“Boris walks into the gym one day wearing flip-flops and holding his customary cappuccino, which was a staple for him every morning,” Griffin recalled. “It was during pre-draft workouts, so he sees the Vertec [machine] and asks what it is.
“We tell him it measures your vertical leap by determining how many of the bars you can touch. He asks what’s the highest anyone has ever gone, and we tell him Amare’ [Stoudemire] cleared the entire rack.
“Boris puts down the cappuccino, takes off his flip-flops and clears the entire rack on the first try. Then he calmly puts his flip-flops back on, picks up his cappuccino and walks away, saying, ‘That was not difficult.'”
There will truly never be another Boris Diaw. So long, Boris, and congrats on a memorable career.