NBL title-winner and two-time league MVP Kevin Lisch has retired.
NBL title-winner and two-time league MVP Kevin Lisch has retired.

Kings exodus deepens as two-time MVP call it quits

THE retirement of NBL title-winner and two-time league MVP Kevin Lisch has left the Sydney Kings with just one member of last season's starting side on their books ahead of next month's free-agency period.

The Kings captain, a naturalised Australian who played for the Boomers at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, enjoyed 11 seasons in the NBL with Sydney, Illawarra and Perth.

Lisch said he had followed multiple doctors' orders to retire after off-season surgery on a troublesome ankle that had slowed the 2012 and 2016 MVP.

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He will remain on the Kings' staff next season, his playing retirement triggering a full-scale recruitment frenzy for the club once free agency begins on July 1.

Brad Newley, now 35, is the only starter from last season's minor premiership squad on contract after Andrew Bogut, Casper Ware, Xavier Cooks and Jae'Sean Tate all declined options to stay.

"It is exceedingly rare to earn superlatives like most valuable player, NBL champion, and Olympian during one's career and rarer still to have those fall well short of reflecting what has been achieved," Kings coach Will Weaver said of Lisch.

"Kevin's accomplishments representing Australia and the Sydney Kings will not be soon forgotten, and I will always be grateful for the opportunity to have been on his teams."

Lisch told his teammates after the grand final series opener in March that he would not play on next season.

Trailing Perth 2-1, the Kings opted not to complete the series as the threat of the coronavirus escalated in what proved an anticlimactic exit for the now 34-year-old guard.

"Through the grace of God I was blessed to play this game and want to thank my wife Rachel, and children Benjamin, Sofia, Isabel and Isaac, who bring me so much joy and have been my biggest fans," he said.

"My mum and dad and siblings Stephanie, Theresa and Daniel have been instrumental in every aspect of my life and basketball career.

"I also want to thank all of my teammates, coaches, fans, and support staff that I have had the privilege to be around, and the NBL for the wonderful environment they have provided me." The Illinois native was admired just as much for his two-way play as he was for his humble and friendly demeanour.

"I doubt there's anyone in the world that would say a bad thing about Kevin Lisch," Kings owner Paul Smith said.

"His reputation as a person, a father, and in the community, it's all known.

"He's a competitor, he's tough, he's incredibly caring, he's self-aware, and he has a huge amount of dignity."


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