Former Spurs center Tiago Splitter has officially announced his retirement from the NBA.
After battling a chronic hip injury the last two years, the 33-year-old from Brazil said in a post on his Twitter account that “the time to say goodbye” has come after a seven-year NBA career.
There’s nothing better in the world than being a basketball player! The time has come, perhaps the most difficult in an athlete’s career, time to say goodbye to the courts.
I say goodbye with a broken heart but in the certainty of duty.
Thank you all ✌???
Splitter, a member of the 2014 San Antonio Spurs championship team, suffered a hip injury in 2016 while with the Atlanta Hawks. He was limited to 44 games in almost two years, playing his last game in April 2017.
“It’s a decision I’ve made over the last few months. It’s not something I want, but the hip injury I’m having is more troublesome than we thought it would be. I’ve been talking to my family, my wife, everyone, and it’s really time to hang out,” said Splitter in an interview with Brazilian network SporTV.
“I did the surgery on the right side of the hip after my injury. It was all right. I put a piece of metal on my hip and I was the first one to play with a prosthesis in the NBA,” Splitter explained. “But the other side started to hurt so I looked for the same doctor that performed my first surgery. He said he would have to do the same thing on the other side if I wanted to play. I would need another 12, 13 months of recovery. At that point, I thought, it won’t be physically possible for me to compete with these kids.”
Drafted with the 28th pick in 2007, Splitter joined the Spurs in the summer of 2010. He averaged 8.3 points and 5.3 rebounds over five seasons in San Antonio. In 2015, Splitter was traded to the Hawks to clear space for LaMarcus Aldridge’s arrival. Atlanta sent him to the Philadelphia 76ers in February 2017 in exchange of Ersan Ilyasova.
Despite retirement, Splitter said he believes he won’t be away from the NBA for a long time. In the same interview, he admitted he’s talking with his former coach Gregg Popovich about the possibility to take a position within the Spurs.
“[San Antonio] Is a place where I feel at home, where I know everyone. Every time I go there for a visit, they open the doors for me. It does not mean that I will have always a guaranteed position over there. But I think and I’m thrilled about the possibility of working with the Spurs in the future,” Splitter said.
Splitter was the first Brazilian to win an NBA title, before Leandro Barbosa (2015) and Anderson Varejao (2017) joined him after winning with the Golden State Warriors.