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Omri Casspi retires from pro basketball: ‘I reached peaks I never dreamed of’

Former NBA player says he reached basketball heights during his career; sports minister: ‘Casspi has shown how much determination is necessary to become an elite athlete’

Memphis Grizzlies forward Omri Casspi dunks during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings on on January 25, 2019, in Memphis, Tennessee. (AP Photo/ Brandon Dill)
Memphis Grizzlies forward Omri Casspi dunks during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings on on January 25, 2019, in Memphis, Tennessee. (AP Photo/ Brandon Dill)

Omri Casspi, the first Israeli player to break through in the NBA, announced his retirement from professional basketball on Sunday.

Casspi, 33, has spent the last two seasons at Maccabi Tel Aviv — where he first starred before being selected in the 2009 NBA Draft — but has been plagued by injuries.

“Basketball has given me a lot over the years. I reached the peaks of European and world basketball that I never dreamed of. I did not believe I’d make those dreams come true,” he said in a statement.

“I realized it was my time to quit active basketball play, and start the next stage of life,” Casspi added.

During his 10-year NBA career, Casspi played for the Sacramento Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Memphis Grizzlies, and Golden State Warriors.

Casspi was left off the Warriors’ roster for the 2018 postseason, during which the team won the NBA Finals, but later received a championship ring.

“Returning to Maccabi was a coming-full-circle moment, to the home where I grew up and was educated. It was a difficult time, but I will always remain a fan and lover of Maccabi,” he said.

Culture and Sports Minister Chili Tropper said: “Omri Caspi has shown us throughout his career how much hard work, how much sacrifice is required, and how much determination is necessary when you want to become an elite athlete, when you want to break through.”

Culture and Sports Minister Chili Tropper at the Khan theatre in Jerusalem on February 23, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90)

“Omri is honorably ending his sports career today. I wish us, Israeli sports in particular and the State of Israel as a whole, more athletes and people who will lead us, on and off the playing field,” Tropper added.

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