SULLIVAN TO END STORIED CAREER

Drew Sullivan has officially called time on his basketball career.

And what a run it’s been for the man who retires with more international caps than any male who ever pulled on a Great Britain jersey as well as countless honours at home and abroad.

100 caps before he stepped away from the national team, including captaining the side at an Olympic Games. A vocal and eloquent figurehead in the spotlight that flickered around London 2012.

An example for any young kid from these shores of making it.

Coming through the junior ranks at Hackney under the mentorship of the late great Joe White, Sullivan earned a scholarship to the States at Villanova University, a big-time offer for a talented teen.

But he was one of the generation of Brits who came back to Europe and proved there was a career available, from Spain to Russia and then back to the BBL where he acquired over 20 pieces of silverware, at Newcastle Eagles, Mersey Tigers and then latterly at Leicester Riders where his final game was a final, the Playoff climax just a few weeks ago where he had another sterling show off the bench.

But at the age of 37, his wife Gemma and their three children will now see him a little more.

“I have been playing basketball for over two decades,” he said amid confirmation the Riders will offer him a testimonial game at Leicester Arena on July 22. “I have had an amazing time representing my county, some amazing clubs and playing here [at Leicester] for the five seasons but today I am announcing my retirement.

“It is bitter sweet as I enjoy playing here for this club so much but it has to happen at some stage and the time is right and I look forward to starting the next chapter of my life.

“There have been some amazing moments, representing Great Britain at the Olympics and playing in London a stone’s throw from where I grew up with family and friends able to watch me play.

“Winning the first league title here in Leicester … those are the kind moments I am going to take away.”

Sullivan’s experience, you hope, won’t be lost to the game. If British Basketball have any smarts, they’ll be on the phone asking where his knowledge can be best utilised, in player development, in mentoring, in telling the realities of how tough it is to earn a living at home and what more needs to be done.

He has never pulled punches in that regard. Quite right too. He’ll be missed, indeed.

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