Andy Thomson joins the MVP Cast to explain why he is retiring.

The outgoing Leicester Riders captain, 36, has accumulated 20 British Basketball League trophies during a celebrated spell as one of the nicest tough guys in the game, a career that included stops with Newcastle Eagles and Mersey Tigers, as well as in France and Spain.

And he tells the podcast why he decided to retire after 20 major trophies and the emotional process that took him there, the learnings he takes away from the sport, his best teams, coaches and team-mates from stops at Leicester, Newcastle Eagles and elsewhere, his new career as a therapist and why he hopes a players union can finally arrive in the BBL.

Long spell

The England international led Riders into Europe in the 2018/19 season for the first time in nearly two decades, and played his best basketball in European competitions, averaging nearly 11 points and over 3 rebounds a game.

Last season he averaged 6.3 points and 4.3 rebounds but is stepping away to start up a therapy business.

In a lengthy statement, Thomson said:

“To step away from such a long career, in anything, is a tough, life changing decision, however with sport you’re fully aware it’s got to come to an end.

“Going into the 2019/2020 season, as my 14th year in professional basketball, I had the mindset that this season was likely to be my last one.

“I may not have been able to complete this final season and finish on that high due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, but I still reflect on my career with pride.

“I’ve achieved 20 trophies across my 9 seasons in the BBL, having represented three different clubs and captaining my final two seasons.


“This decision did not come easy to me. I’d put these thoughts off for years as I could never bring myself to visualise hanging up my shoes, however over the last few I’d put my efforts into training and launching my business, Solvere Therapies, specialising in holistic, complementary treatments as my transition.”

“This gave me the confidence to see that there was another path out there for me. Having also recently explored other opportunities which may still come into fruition, I will always pursue this as a side line to satisfy my passion for helping people.”

“When I look back to starting out my career, I can see how much basketball, as a sport has grown.

“The league is definitely trending in the right direction; it’s more competitive, there are more supporters, teams now have their own arenas and clubs are venturing into European competitions.

“Whilst Covid-19 has us hanging in suspense, I’m positive it won’t be long before the growth continues. I would like to say a huge thanks to the Leicester Riders club and fans for welcoming myself and my wife to their community.”

“The support and loyalty from the fans during the highs and lows have made it an honour to represent them and their city. I hope you enjoyed this part of my journey as much as I did.”

“A great thing about basketball is that it has its own network, you play with and against players who over the years of playing in the BBL, many have turned in to life-long friends.

“You also get the privilege to meet with fans and sponsors, and through this I’ve made some great friendships. I’d like to say a further thanks to coach Rob Paternostro for signing me up to his ball club.

“He and Russell Levenston put together some very talented teams which I was lucky to be a part of, culminating in seven trophies throughout my time here.

“Whilst Rob’s a very emotive and animated coach on the side lines, he’s very supportive and understanding in the needs of his players on and off the court which I appreciated greatly.

“The arena and the club are in good hands with Kevin Routledge at the helm and I wish them the best of luck in their future and I’m sure there will be plenty more trophies to line those cabinets.”

Sky no limit

Surrey Scorchers have re-signed American-born swingman Skylar White.

The 27-year-old is back with the Scorchers as a proven threat on both ends of the floor, averaging 15.5 points per game along with 7.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks.

White finished the BBL Championship campaign as the league leader in three-pointers made and was second in blocks per game.

The 6’7 American-born forward will be teaming up with Tayo Ogedengbe and Lovell Cook for a second consecutive season, as well as new signing Rashad Hassan.

“It’s going to be a lot easier to get gelled this year coming back to a team with guys I know,” he said.

“I’ve already been talking with Tayo about some strategies on the defensive end that we can do.

“It’s going to be more team basketball this year, we can pass the ball anywhere on the court and you know someone is going to be there who can knock the shot down.

“If I can lead the league in three points made again that would be great, I want to be top 10 in a lot of categories.”

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