Dan Clark, one of the icons of British Basketball and owner of some of the most impressive feats in national team history, has shared his thoughts and hopes following his retirement from playing professional basketball.
Clark hangs up his boots as one of the standard-bearers for the sport in the UK and the only player to both score more than 1,000 points and take more than 500 rebounds, all while setting the record for most caps held by a Men’s player at EuroBasket 2022, with 119 appearances.
He played in more major FIBA Championships than any other GB player, appearing in five EuroBaskets and the London 2012 Olympics Games, and leaves an awe-inspiring legacy for future generations to aspire to.
Speaking following his announcement, Clark said: “I realised a few years ago that this time was approaching, and that I was at a stage of my career – with my injury history and so on – where I needed to start thinking about the next steps and preparing for, so I don’t fall flat on my face.
“Basketball is a very short career. We are very privileged, but we do realise that outside of the top 1% of players the rest of us do have to carry on working and earning a living, really, so I’ve been preparing myself for this for some time and been ok with making the decision when the time comes.
“This summer the thoughts (around retirement) were more and more in my head and seemed more realistic to me, and after EuroBasket and last season I just really felt like this was the right time for me to move on. I’m walking away on my own terms and I believe this is the right time.
“It wasn’t an easy decision. I put a lot of thought into this, spoken to a lot of ex-teammates who have already retired, and friends and family who have been with me throughout my career, but I am at peace with it. I am proud of what I have achieved and looking forward to the next chapter.”
After a career that saw him travel the world and develop an outstanding reputation for his exploits at both club and national team level, it speaks volumes about Clark’s passion for his country that he ranks his time with GB as what he will miss the most now that he has decided to step away from playing.
Clark is, however, focused on making sure his expertise is available to all in British basketball, despite his stepping away from playing.
“I am definitely going to miss GB more than anything else,” he added. “Representing my country was the greatest honour I had as a player and it is definitely an area I am focused on getting involved in and helping out from the other side with the experience I’ve had and gone through.
“I think what I’ve been through would be of great value to pass on to future players and to the organisation to help everybody grow and get better and better.
“I’m not sold on coaching. I don’t see myself as a coach and I know I wasn’t the easiest to coach sometimes, but very few are as these are all big characters and have the ego that is needed to be successful in professional sport. I am interested to see what is next, but I am keen to stay involved.”
With Clark’s retirement and the recent announcement of a new Chair for the British Basketball Federation, there is potential for change in national team affairs. But the 33-year-old has explained why his is excited about the future for GB and what he sees as the way forward.
“I am very excited about the future for GB,” Clark said. “I think there is a lot of talent both in the junior teams and coming through at a senior level and the depth in the squad of the Men’s team that I’ve been involved in.
“The windows very much play into our favour in terms of giving these players experience and playing time to see if they really are good enough to play at the highest level internationally, and I am excited to see what the future brings.
“There is always going to be change in professional sport and I think the important thing for British Basketball is how we can keep the people who have been in and around the teams over the last few years in the fold and make sure we feed off their expertise to help us grow as a nation in the sport.”
Michelle Vernon-Way, BBF Director and Chair of the Performance Group paid tribute to Clark on his retirement, saying: “Dan will always be a legend of British Basketball. The statistics speak for themselves, but we also want to acknowledge his outstanding leadership and passion for the game: qualities that we hope will continue to drive British Basketball forward in years to come.
“We join the whole basketball community in congratulating Dan for his remarkable career, and wishing him the very best for his next phase.”