By FIBA Europe
European basketball has waved goodbye to one of its true greats after Czech Republic legend Eva Viteckova decided to retire from the sport which she has graced throughout her distinguished career.
A star on the world stage when wearing her national team jersey and a colossus in EuroLeague Women with Brno and ZVVZ USK Prague for many years, Viteckova is to become a mother later this year.
Having initially intended to wait until the end of the season, she has hung up her shoes with immediate effect and that sparked emotional scenes when she received a standing ovation from everyone connected with ZVVZ USK Prague as she watched her team punch a ticket for the EuroLeague Women Final Four from the sidelines.
“When I started, I didn’t think I would play three times at the Olympics, or I would be a European champion and have a medal from the World Championship,” Viteckova told the media.
“This is something incredible and I appreciate all of these achievements.
“I knew it (about retiring) from the beginning of the year and I told the leadership (at the club), but I told my team-mates after the match in Montpellier.
“I was afraid what to tell the team, since I was going to miss the key matches of the season, but they all had an understanding and they took it very well.”
She added, “I think I’m still the girl from Zdar and I do not feel like a star.”
The 33-year-old bows out of the game with a truly remarkable résumé and having left a huge footprint on women’s basketball in the Czech Republic and right across Europe more generally.
A three time Olympian, EuroBasket Women champion, FIBA World Championship for Women finalist, EuroLeague Women champion and a Czech Champion 14 times, it takes quite some time to even begin listing all of her magnificent accomplishments.
Renowned as one of the greatest Czech players in history, Viteckova swept up a huge number of individual accolades for her skills and contributions to the game, as well as attaining the distinction of being the player with the most appearances in EuroLeague Women history.
But more than anything else, her three-point shooting stats over a wonderfully consistent 15 years of playing at the elite level in EuroLeague Women tells the story.
Viteckova averaged a supremely brilliant 45% from beyond the arc – something which arguably sets her aside from so many others and underlines her status as one of women’s basketball’s great wing players.
Her decision to end her career also means that Czech Republic will be without her services for a second successive EuroBasket Women Final Round, although the player indicated that she had never envisaged taking part at the event.