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Flanked by his French basketball brethren, Boris recalled when the three French hoopers were a lot younger and used to go skinny dipping after a win. He remarks that after he tied his mother –– Élisabeth Riffiod, who was inducted into the French Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006 –– for the number of appearances with the French national team (247), it felt like the time to retire. Reaching that milestone was a goal of his since he was a youngster, and he admits––translated from French––"There is no reason to go beyond."
In 14 NBA seasons, after appearing in 1064 games, Diaw averaged 8.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists a contest. He won a title with the Spurs in 2014 and Most Improved Player in 2006. But it wasn't his numbers, or accolades, that made him so popular among NBA fans.
Diaw is unlikely to be elected into the Hall of Fame (just don't tell NBA Twitter), but that understates the love he inspired from fans, particularly as the game took off on social media. After some years in Phoenix, where he still resembled an elite-level athlete, his gorgeous passing, high basketball IQ, and quirky interests (including an obsession with cappuccino) to create the prototypical NBA player for the modern, social-media obsessed age. Now that he's retired, the French Magician might be headed to outer space.
Most of his NBA peers who have reacted to the news are from overseas, which makes a lot of sense considering how international the game has become. Diaw is a big reason for its global appeal.
He will be missed.