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sport / / NBCSBA: Bjelica, ex-King who won championship with Warriors, retires

o NBCSBA: Bjelica, ex-King who won championship with Warriors, retiresRobin Miller

NBCSBA: Bjelica, ex-King who won championship with Warriors, retires


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Subject: NBCSBA: Bjelica, ex-King who won championship with Warriors, retires
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 by: Robin Miller - Sun, 24 Mar 2024 02:43 UTC

RM: First Otto Porter, now Bjelica.

Bjelica, ex-King who won championship with Warriors, retires

By Eric Mullin

• Published March 23, 2024

Nemanja Bjelica has called it a career.

The Warriors champion and former Kings forward announced his retirement
from basketball in an Instagram post on Saturday.

"Lately I have read several official announcements by professional
athletes talking about the end of their careers," the 35-year-old
Bjelica wrote in a statement. "That got me thinking that when the time
comes, I would personally try to avoid such a moment, as I have always
been a private person and have tried to keep my media appearances short
and only related to basketball.

"Somewhere not long ago I read that no one has ever won a race against
time. Over the last years I have become fully aware of that. Even now,
after 20 years devoting myself to the game, I feel the need to
officially announce that the end has come."

Bjelica, who was a second-round pick in 2010, came to the NBA from
overseas in 2015. He spent his first three seasons with the Minnesota
Timberwolves before signing with Sacramento in 2018.

The 6-10 Serbian forward started 138 of 175 total appearances with the
Kings over two-plus seasons, averaging 10.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.3
assists in 24.2 minutes per game.

"When I arrived to the NBA I had to adjust and change my style of
playing completely, but I do not regret," Bjelica said. "Firstly, Zarko
Djurisic during my stay in Minnesota and then Vlade Divac and Peja
Stojaković in Sacramento gave me new motivation and challenges and
pushed me into new victories."

Following a midseason trade from Sacramento to the Miami Heat, Bjelica
signed with the Warriors in the 2021 offseason. He made 71
regular-season appearances with Golden State, averaging 6.1 points, 4.1
rebounds and 2.2 assists in 16.1 minutes per game.

Bjelica then made 15 postseason appearances, averaging 2.9 points in 10
minutes per game, as the Dubs captured the 2022 NBA title.

"Finally, and the peak of my professional career, was getting the
championship ring with the Golden State Warriors and coach Steve Kerr,
who showed me that basketball is more than winning," Bjelica said.

Bjelica also shouted out late Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojević
as he thanked those who "have supported me and contributed to the
development of my career."

The Warriors' title-winning campaign marked Bjelica's final NBA season.
He played for the Turkish club Fenerbahçe Beko in 2022-23.

Bjelica hangs up the sneakers having made 162 starts and 449 total
appearances over seven NBA seasons, averaging 7.6 points, 4.6 rebounds
and 1.8 assists. He was a career 38.4 percent 3-point shooter and 46.6
percent shooter overall.

A former EuroLeague MVP, Bjelica also captured silver while playing for
Serbia in the FIBA EuroBasket and FIBA World Cup.

It's unclear what's next for Bjelica now that his playing days are over,
but he seems set to remain in basketball in some sort of capacity.

"I'm officially retiring as a basketball player, but I am looking
forward to new challenges in the sport that I love and that has given me
everything," Bjelica said.

sport / / NBCSBA: Bjelica, ex-King who won championship with Warriors, retires


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