Andres Nocioni: One of a kind
After almost 19 years at the top level, the 37-year-old Argentinian decided to retire at the end of the season and put an end to a career that was full of accomplishments and trophies.
Back in 1996, when Nocioni started playing for Olimpia Venado Tuerto, nobody was thinking he would become one of the best power forwards in the world.
When Baskonia (former Tau Ceramica) decided to sign him in 2001, the Argentinian had a great opportunity to enhance his performance and have an active role in the rotation.
In a squad that consisted of many talented and versatile players, Nocioni managed to make the difference and was one of the Spanish squad’s best players during the Basques’ “Golden Era”.
Consequently, he was twice included in Euroleague’s second team (2003, 2004), while he also won the ACB MVP award in 2004.
Thanks to his great performances, he joined the Chicago Bulls and played in the NBA for eight years (2004- 2012, as a member of the Chicago Bulls, the Sacramento Kings and the Philadelphia 76ers, respectively), averaging 10.3 points and 4.9 rebounds per game and being known for his tough defence and his versatile skills.
His return to Baskonia helped him again become a game changer and led to Real Madrid signing him in 2014, with the Spanish club winning the Euroleague title in 2015 and Nocioni becoming the oldest player in competition’s history that won the MVP award.
What made him well-known among most basketball fans, though, was his presence in Argentina’s national team, where he played alongside Luis Scola, Manu Ginobili, Carlos Delfino and Pablo Prigioni, creating an extraordinary squad that was capable of beating any opponent.
Consequently, the three-time ACB champion and four-time Spanish Cup winner has claimed multiple world titles, as a member of Argentina (Olympic gold in 2004 in Athens, three gold medals in championships held in South America, a silver one at the 2002 FIBA World Cup in the United States as well as a bronze at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing).
Although he was getting older year after year, he remained a great three-point shooter (43%), while his passion and great work ethic let him retain his place among the top power forwards.
His biggest advantage was his ability to be equally effective both from the low-post and beyond the arc, finding many ways to score points. And that’s why his versatile skills have been so vital since he started his career, in 1996.
And even though his squad is one of the favourites to win the Euroleague title, Nocioni leaves the club, having done his best in every game and managing to be on top for almost 19 years.
And what a better way to end his career than winning the coveted title, as the “Whites” want to go all the way to the end in the playoffs and the Final Four.
In the end, Nocioni’s decision may be the right one for him, considering his age and the reduced playing time he has in Real Madrid, however it’s certain he would still play at very high standards, in case he wanted to make a come-back.