Monday, September 22, 2008

Hanno Mottola decided to retire from pro basketball

Finnish legend Hanno Mottola(2.11-PF) has announced his decision to retire from professional basketball last Saturday. Mottola decided to end his career early after 12 years. Mottola is probably the most popular finnish basketball player and he currently is the first and only finnish player to ever play in the NBA. He is also one of the natural leaders of the Finland National Team.

He started playing basketball for the University of Utah and later on he was selected in the second round, 40th overall, in the 2000 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks. He played for 2 seasons with the Atlanta Hakws before returning to Europe to play pro basketball. He averaged 4.6 points and 2.9 rebounds in a grand total of 155 games in the NBA for the Atlanta Hawks

After his time with the Hawks, he returned to Europe, playing in Spain with TAU Cerámica of the ACB, then in Italy with Skipper Bologna (2003-2004, reached the Italian Championship finals and Euroleague final) and Scavolini Pesaro (2004-2005), in the Russian Basketball Super League with Dynamo Moscow and in the Lithuanian League with Žalgiris Kaunas. He conquered the Uleb Cup in 2006 as a player of Dynamo Moscow.

The last team he played for was Aris Thessaloniki and he played last season in the greek A1 league and the Euroleague with them.

Some of his career highlights are:
* First native of Finland to play in a regular-season NBA game
* Started first three games of 2000-01 season as a rookie
* Ranks 14th all-time in school history at Utah with 1,492 points
* Set Finnish National Team record for most points in a game when he scored 43 against Latvia in August, 1998
* Named to the GTE Academic All-America Second Team as a junior

Mottola said in the interview that it was a long overdue decision and he wanted to leave basketball while he was still at the top of his game. His family also influenced his final decision and his business plans. Mottola always played at the highest level of European basketball and his absence will not go unnoticed.

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