It was mostly a formality, as the 39-year-old guard hasn’t played in three years and has been a player development coach on the Pelicans‘ staff since last November. However, he hadn’t made a formal announcement until today when he shared the news on an Instagram post.
“They say professional athletes die two deaths – the first being when you’re unable to play the sport any longer,” Udrih wrote. “It has taken me 2 long years to accept and announce my retirement from playing basketball. Coming from a small village in Slovenia to playing 13 consecutive years in the NBA and winning 2 championships, is more than I could have dreamed of and I loved every minute of it. Basketball has been a part of my life professionally since I was 16 years old and is something I hope I never have to give up. I now want to be a coach just as badly as I wanted to be a professional player back when I was a kid. I hope to share my knowledge and guide the next generation, just as many coaches did for me.”
Udrih played seven seasons overseas before the Spurs drafted him with the 28th pick in 2004. He spent three seasons with San Antonio, winning two NBA titles, before signing as a free agent with the Kings. After four years in Sacramento, Udrih became a journeyman, making brief stops with the Bucks, Magic, Knicks, Grizzlies, Heat and Pistons. He played 831 career games, averaging 8.4 points and 3.4 assists per night.