David West, a key big man and snazzy passer who had a knack for providing a timely lift off the bench during the Golden State Warriors' past two championship seasons, retired Thursday.
West's Twitter announcement — one day after his 38th birthday — wasn't a surprise as he made it clear he would take some time after the team's latest title run to contemplate calling it a career.
“I am humbled and thankful for the support of my family, friends, coaches, teammates, organizations, and fans throughout this experience,” said West, the 18th overall draft pick by the Hornets in 2003 out of Xavier.
He left the Spurs following the 2015-16 season for a chance to chase a championship with the Warriors, and wound up winning his first career title and then a second one this past June.
“David was a consummate professional throughout his entire career and was a huge presence in our locker room the last two years,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said in a statement. “The respect that he commanded was palpable every single day he walked in the door and the leadership that he provided to our team was critical to our success. He had the unique ability to connect with both the veteran and young players and the mentoring he provided our younger group was invaluable. The consistency that he displayed at a high level on the court for 15 years was amazing and a testament to his hard work and dedication. He is a true champion in every sense of the word.”
A two-time All-Star, West averaged 13.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists playing 1,034 games over a 15-year career with New Orleans, Indiana, San Antonio and the Warriors. He was active in the community helping others.
For so long, West had wanted to be part of Gregg Popovich's storied Spurs franchise, saying it was on his “bucket list,” then the center landed in the Bay Area on a star-studded roster featuring All-Stars Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson — and he found his perfect fit as a reliable role player for Kerr . With West, Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee, Golden State had a distinct trio of centers to keep opponents guessing.
West said he is grateful and thanked everyone for the support while saying, “I have been fortunate enough to live out my childhood dream of playing in the NBA.”
“There should be a picture in the dictionary of David under ‘pro's pro,“’ Warriors general manager Bob Myers said. “He's one of the most decent people I've ever met. His depth of character is unmatched. We are all better for having spent the last two years with him. There is no doubt the best is ahead of him.”
NBA partners with junior program
USA Basketball is expanding its men's junior national team program, partnering with the NBA, NCAA and National Basketball Players Association to bring about 80 high school players to training camps.
The collaboration, a first of its kind among the organizations, will bring about 20 athletes from each high school class will participate in six camps during the 2018-19 season.
NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said the expanded initiative “aligns well with a recommendation from the Commission on College Basketball” for the organizations to collaborate on a developmental program for promising teenage prospects.
The commission recommended changing the “one-and-done” rule that requires American-born players to be 19 years old and a year removed from high school to be eligible for the NBA draft. The league and the NPBA wouldn't commit to a change, but did support the idea of improving youth basketball.
The first camp will take place for players from all high school grades from Oct. 5-7 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Another will take place at the Final Four in Minneapolis.