Boris Diaw officially retired from basketball on Thursday. His NBA career effectively came to a close last summer, when the French forward signed a deal to go back home and play for the Levallois Metropolitans (formerly Paris-Levallois).
Diaw spent 14 years in the NBA with the Hawks, Suns, Hornets, and Spurs before helping a young Utah Jazz team to its first playoff appearance since Jerry Sloan. His career included being named the 2006 NBA Most Improved Player of the Year and an NBA championship with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014.
Most know Diaw as a husky point forward with deft playmaking abilities. But at the beginning of his long career, the Frenchman was an efficient post scorer and athletic playmaker, capable of going coast-to-coast before either finding a teammate or finishing at the rim.
Off the court, Diaw was one of the most interesting personalities the league had to offer. In honor of the French forward’s fun career, we revisited some of Diaw’s best moments over the years:
The basketball stuff
His prime playing in Phoenix:
Which led to Bill Walton’s incredible praise:
“[Suns owner] Robert Sarver from San Diego, [went to] the University of Arizona, bought the team from Jerry Colangelo and [had] the vision to somehow acquire Boris Diaw. And when you look at Boris Diaw, what he’s done to this franchise, he’s changed everything. And as we celebrate his brilliance, when you talk to Boris Diaw, what a classical human being he is. It was 201 years ago today that Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in E-flat escorted in the age of romanticism in music. And when I look at Boris Diaw, I think about Beethoven in the age of the romantics. This guy has got it all.”
That’s a Hall of Fame compliment right there.
When he gained weight in Charlotte and demanded a trade:
Charlotte was clearly trying to rebuild, and Diaw wanted no part of the reconstruction. His weight ballooned. Silas counseled him on the benefits of staying in shape, explained that in his own playing time Silas had won a championship only once he’d committed himself to the game and dropped those excess pounds. Diaw wasn’t interested — he asked the front office to trade him. “He didn’t tell me that initially, and that was just something that really upset me, and I told him, ‘Look, if that’s what you want, come to me first and tell me and then go to someone else,’” Silas said. “But it just didn’t happen that way.”
When he picked the Heat apart with his passing in the 2014 NBA Finals:
Here are all the angles of this ridiculous pass:
He made a ridiculous sky hook over Vince Carter.
Off the court
He wrote a children’s book about hippos:
In his younger days, he cleared the vertical leap rack in between cappuccino sips.
"Boris walks into the gym one day wearing flip-flops and holding his customary cappuccino, which was a staple for him every morning," [ex-Cavs GM David Griffin] recalled. "It was during pre-draft workouts, so he sees the Vertec [machine] and asks what it is.
"We tell him it measures your vertical leap by determining how many of the bars you can touch. He asks what's the highest anyone has ever gone, and we tell him Amare' [Stoudemire] cleared the entire rack.
"Boris puts down the cappuccino, takes off his flip-flops and clears the entire rack on the first try. Then he calmly puts his flip-flops back on, picks up his cappuccino and walks away, saying, 'That was not difficult."
He kept a cappuccino machine in his locker:
You're gonna think I'm making this up. I assure you I am not. Boris Diaw has a working cappuccino maxhine plugged in at his locker.— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) January 7, 2016
He drove through the streets of LA with Ronny Turiaf in this car:
He made a commercial, dancing in his boxers, to promote healthier eating choices:
He signed his contract with the Spurs on a sailboat:
Diaw was boatloads of fun to watch on the court and even more interesting to hear about off it. We wish him good luck in the next phase of his life.