After over a decade at the top, with highs on both sides of the Atlantic, Scotland’s greatest-ever basketballer has decided the end is nigh.

Robert Archibald has confirmed he will hang up his over-sized boots after this summer’s Olympic Games in London, concluding a career that has taken in some of the sport’s most iconic courts.

The Paisley-born centre remains the only Scot to play in the NBA after lining up for the Memphis Grizzlies, who chose him in the second round of the league’s Draft in 2002, as well as the Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns.

His Stateside spell, which also included a successful four years at the University of Illinois, was followed by a prolonged stint at the top level in Europe, where he became one of only three Britons ever to lift a European trophy during his spell with Spanish giants Joventut Badalona, as well as winning the Ukrainian League title with oil-rich Azovmash Mariupol.

However having put his 2.11m frame through the daily grind for so long, and following a tough season with Zaragoza where he fell out of favour with head coach José Luis Abos, 32-year-old Archibald confessed to a lack of desire to carry on regardless.

“I’ve been thinking about it during the year,” he revealed. “At the start of the season, I didn’t really have any kind of set plan. I knew this would be my tenth year as a pro and if things were going well, I’d have probably played onto 35 or beyond. But it was a difficult season all round so I spent some time talking about it with my wife and other people.

“The closer I got to making that decision, the more I felt at peace with going that way. There’s no reason for me to fight it. If it was just down to playing basketball, of course I could go on. But you get to the point in your late thirties where you’re playing on teams where the goals aren’t set as high, where the contracts aren’t as good and the cities where you’re living in aren’t as nice.

“So when you weigh all that up, what you have to sacrifice by being away from friends and family for ten months each year, you get to a point where you have to look at the good against the bad.

Archibald went to two EuroBaskets (Mansoor Ahmed/BB)

Archibald began his career with Dunfermline Reign where he won two Scottish Cups but will now channel his energies towards Great Britain’s bid to impress at the Olympics. 25-times capped, he has already featured in two EuroBasket finals as the team has slowly acquired international credibility. “I really think we can reach the quarter-finals,” he stated.

Of course, he must still earn his place in the 12-man squad for the Games once the squad gathers in Houston next month for training camp. Performing in London, he concedes, would be the ideal final stop on the long and winding road.

“It feels right to come full circle,” he stated.

“To have left Britain in 1997 and been all over the place and to be able to come back and have the final chapter be at home, and in such a high level competition, that feels perfect. It’s a nice way for me to show how much the national team has grown and how the level has improved.”

Beyond that, who knows? Archibald will return to his Chicago home and take time to consider his options. Possibly coaching, possibly utilising his economics degree, perhaps even a mentoring role with Britain’s next generation.

“The plan is to take six months off, re-connect with a lot of people,and then see where I’m at,” he said.

“It’s going to be different.”

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