David Lee spent the 2016-17 NBA season as a key member of the San Antonio Spurs’ bench, and while we didn’t know it at the time, it appears as though that was the last basketball he’ll ever play. In a subtle Instagram post on Sunday afternoon, Lee revealed that he is officially retiring from the NBA.
It’s interesting timing for Lee in the sense that it doesn’t feel like he has to retire. At 34 years old, Lee has certainly slowed down, but he was effective enough for the Spurs last season that you’d think his NBA career could continue if he wanted it to.
Regardless of Lee’s reasoning here, he’s having a pretty memorable November. Earlier this month, Lee announced that he got engaged to professional tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.
By the looks of it, Wozniacki threw Lee a surprise retirement party with their closest friends and family on Saturday night. In fact, the only reason we know Lee retired at all is because he called it a “retirement party” in the Instagram post. While Lee hasn’t made an official statement or anything like that just yet, he did re-tweet a congratulatory message from former New York Knicks President of Basketball Operations, Isiah Thomas, essentially confirming what we all thought.
Lee is one of the more unheralded players in recent NBA history, earning two All-Star selections and one NBA Championship in his 12-year career. Lee spent the early parts of his run as a double-double machine in New York for the Knicks but will likely be best remembered as a catalyst for the current-era Golden State Warriors. Lee famously moved to a bench role in favor of an emerging Draymond Green in the 2014-15 NBA playoffs, leading to the Warriors’ first NBA Championship.
Congratulations, David Lee, and enjoy retirement! You’ve earned it.