Gigi Datome Announces Retirement

Former NBA forward Gigi Datome played his final game as a professional basketball player at the 2023 World Cup, writes Cesare Milanti of Eurohoops.

Datome, who captained Italy’s national team, received a standing ovation from fans, his team, and his opponents near the conclusion of the seven-eight matchup with Slovenia. The Italians wound up losing the game to finish the World Cup in eighth place.

The 35-year-old veteran also received a standing ovation from the media after the game, Milanti adds.

This is one of the many gestures I’ve received this summer, gestures of love and respect,” Datome said. “Tonight it was very emotional. I hope this is why I played so badly. My teammates played hard and tried to make me finish with a win. However, after many years I’ve learned this is not the most important thing.

I’m proud of this team, we showed that we could compete at the highest level. They also treated me so well, they made me special. One of the best summers of my life. … Thank you to everybody. Also thanks to the referees, media, teammates, coaches, former coaches: thanks again to all of you.”

Datome played two NBA seasons with the Pistons and Celtics from 2013-15. In 55 regular season games, he held modest averages of 3.4 points and 1.4 rebounds in 8.1 minutes per contest.

While he didn’t find much success stateside, Datome has had a lengthy and productive professional career overseas, playing another 18 seasons for various European clubs, primarily in his home country of Italy. According to Basketball-Reference, Datome averaged 8.5 points and 3.2 rebounds on an impressive .477/.429/.884 shooting line in 565 career games (19.5 MPG) across various competitions.

“I have no regrets,” Datome said, per Milanti. “It was my choice, I think it’s a good moment to step out. That’s why I feel grateful. Doing it now as captain of the Italian national team is an honor.”

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