By Jon Carlos RodriguezTiago Splitter, the first Brazilian ever to win an NBA title, has announced his retirement. Let’s celebrate his seven-year career, shall we?
While 33-year-old LeBron James won his third All-Star Game MVP, another 33-year-old announced his retirement from the NBA. The careers of James and Splitter are worlds apart, so we won’t have to bring up that one time LeBron denied Tiago literally at the rim. Like, Tiago was about .00001 seconds away from an NBA Finals highlight that he will remember for the rest of his life, but LeBron blocked the dunk try. It was brutal and rude, and there’s no need to dredge up that bad memory. The fact that it happened in Game 2 of the 2013 Finals made the block more relevant. But that’s not why we’re here.
We’re here to celebrate the career of Tiago Splitter.
After a Fergalicious All-Star Weekend, the former San Antonio Spurs center announced his retirement from the NBA due to a chronic hip injury he’s been dealing with for the last two years.
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 ✌🏻🙏🏻
— Tiago Splitter (@tiagosplitter) February 19, 2018
Splitter spent five seasons in San Antonio under Gregg Popovich, and became an instrumental big man off the bench. Peak Splitter came in the 2012-13 season, where he put up averages of 10 points and 5 rebounds per game in 24 minutes. He played in 81 games that year and started 58 of them alongside Tim Duncan. But the Spurs lost in the Finals to the Miami Heat, thanks to the Ray Allen 3 that extended the series to seven games.
The following year, the Spurs and Splitter got their revenge on the Big 3 Heat, dominating the series 4 games to 1. The win was historic not only to the Spurs (it was their fifth title in the Tim Duncan era), but also to the whole of Brazil: Splitter became the first Brazilian player to ever win a championship in the NBA.
Remember The Block we won’t be talking about anymore? Here’s Splitter getting it back via LeBron’s best bud:
Splitter was later traded to the Atlanta Hawks, then to the Philadelphia 76ers, where he wound up playing only 8 games and averaging 5 points and 3 rebounds. So let’s forget that. As a Spur, Splitter was the hustle guy, the last line on defense and a scavenger on offense.
In an interview, Splitter said Spurs management has opened its doors for him if ever he is looking to pursue a career related to basketball post-retirement. I guess that means we don’t have to bring up the time Pop was so angry at Splitter for not helping on KD.
Splitter may also have a fruitful career as a reporter, as long as LeBron won’t block him again.
— NBA Brasil (@NBABrasil) February 18, 2018
Good luck, Tiago! We wish you well.
[Thumbnail photo from http://news4sanantonio.com; videos from YouTube]