Real legend Reyes retires at 41

Jun 24, 2021 by Print
Real legend Reyes retires at 41

One of the most decorated big men in basketball history, Felipe Reyes of Real Madrid, has decided to hang up his sneakers after a legendary career that spanned more than two decades, including 17 seasons in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and three in the EuroCup. Reyes, 41, leaves the game having won the EuroLeague twice and the EuroCup once with Real, which he joined in 2004 from Estudiantes Madrid, his only other professional club. Reyes finishes his EuroLeague career ranked first all-time in offensive rebounds (705); second in total rebounds (1,799), free throws made (967) and fouls drawn (1,308); third in games played (357); sixth in performance index rating (3,775); and eighth in scoring (3,029). With the Spanish national team, Reyes won gold medals at one World Cup and at three EuroBaskets, plus two silvers and one bronze each at the Olympic Games and EuroBasket.

Reyes announced his decision at an event held on Thursday in Madrid, where he was joined at a press by club president Florentino Perez and surrounded by family, friends, current and former teammates and coaches, club legends, administrators and others who gave the long-time Real captain extended ovations in appreciation of his singular service to the sport of basketball.

"In life, everything comes to an end, and although my head and my body says I can do a little more, I believe that the moment has arrived to put the final point on my days as a professional player," Reyes said. "I am very hopeful for the future, without knowing what my next steps will be, but what I do know for sure is that I want to give back to this sport, in some way, all that it has given me. Basketball will continue to be part of my life, for sure, but now my family will be my day-to-day priority."

Reyes made his Spanish League debut with Estudiantes Madrid on October 4, 1998 and played for that team until 2004. He helped Estudiantes win a Spanish Copa del Rey in 2000, and to reach the EuroCup Semifinals in 2003 and 2004, and the Spanish League Finals in 2004. In his third season after joining Real, Reyes had the highest PIR in the 2007 EuroCup Championship Game as the team lifted the trophy. After that, he was the captain of Real for many seasons during the club's EuroLeague resurgence, ending a span of 15 years without reaching a Final Four to doing so in seven of his last 11 seasons. Together, Reyes and Real won the continental title in 2015 and 2018, while also reaching the championship game in 2013 and 2014 and additional Final Fours in 2011, 2017 and 2019. The 2015 title was especially sweet as it ended a 20-year drought of EuroLeague hardware for the most-crowned club in history and came as Reyes was voted to the 2014-15 All-EuroLeague First Team, his only such honor. As team captain, Reyes was the first Real player this century to lift the trophy and did so in front of an adoring home crowd in the Spanish capital after the team had been frustrated the previous two consecutive years in the championship game.

Reyes also helped Real win eight Spanish League titles and lift the Spanish Copa del Rey six times. He was chosen as the Spanish League MVP in 2009 and 2015 and earned Spanish Finals MVP honors in 2007 and 2013. Reyes also led Madrid to the Intercontinental Cup title in 2015.

His achievements at a club level are complemented by a legendary career with the Spanish national team. He helped Spain win a gold medal at the 2006 World Cup and also won the EuroBasket in 2009, 2011 and 2015. He was instrumental, too, as Spain capture three Olympic medals -- silver at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, bronze at Rio 2016 – plus EuroBasket bronze in 2001 and silvers in 2003 and 2007. He played 236 games with the Spanish national team, trailing only Juan Carlos Navarro (253) and Juan Antonio San Epifanio (239).