By Johnny Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Pending a farewell game to be played Sunday, Gustavo Ayon decided to end his playing career.
“It did not take long,” he noted commenting on the process leading to retirement, “Throughout my career, I learned to take care of my body, when I could be effective and when I couldn’t. I need more than 24 hours to recover after a game. I am retiring fully and at a good level as a player.”
Ayon, 37, spent the majority of the last couple of seasons playing for Capitanes de Arecibo in Puerto Rico’s BSN. Earlier in his career, the Mexican center logged 138 appearances in the NBA between the Milwaukee Bucks, New Orleans Pelicans, Orlando Magic, and Atlanta Hawks.
“I wanted to play basketball and be successful in teams having an important individual role. For me, that is much better than playing for 10 or 15 years in the NBA,” he summed up his NBA career.
The lengthy stay at Spain powerhouse Real Madrid included a couple of Turkish Airlines EuroLeague championships in 2015 and 2018, the FIBA Intercontinental title in 2015, four domestic league championships, three Copa del Rey titles, and two triumphs in Supercopa.
“The EuroLeague is at the same level as the NBA, not in entertainment but as a sports league EuroLeague is very strong, very demanding,” added the towering center, “Being able to win it twice as one of the important players on the team, I would not exchange that for anything else.”
At the international level, he represented Mexico in multiple FIBA tournaments from 2007 to 2020, including the 2014 World Cup. Sunday’s farewell game will pitch the Mexico national team against a group of friends.