25 July, 2021
07 August
4 Luís Scola (ARG)
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'I'm leaving in peace': Luis Scola retires with impactful legacy

MIAMI (USA) - With less than a minute remaining in Argentina’s Olympic Quarter-Final men’s basketball game vs. Australia in Tokyo, play was halted for a substitution. It wasn’t just any change from the Argentinean side, though. This was the last time international basketball legend Luis Scola would ever play for his home country after a marvelous career. Understanding the significance of the moment, both teams gave Scola a standing ovation.

The 6-foot-9, 41-year-old forward was the last remaining player from Argentina's "Golden Generation". Scola was a member of the famous Argentina team at the 2004 Athens Games that captured the gold over Italy and the United States.

Although Argentina was eliminated from the Tokyo Olympics, Scola's final outing does not take away from his accomplishments individually, for the country of Argentina and for the continent of South America.

"I am leaving in peace. I tried to get away from everything this last year, but everything came to me all at once. I tried to maintain my composure as much as I could. We are all experiencing a very special situation - seeing the opponents, the journalists, even the referees all applauding, really hit me. I try to get away from these situations, but it was tough as I was waiting to finish the game. I don't really know what to say, it's over and that's it. I'm a bit emotionally beaten and caught off guard. I thank the people of Australia very much; it was an acknowledgment that has incredible value. Having the respect of your opponents is, perhaps, the final compliment, the greatest compliment there is. I am very happy, and I am leaving in peace," said Scola after the game in which he contributed 7 points and 4 rebounds.

Scola’s FIBA career began with the Argentina junior national teams, where he captured gold medals at the 1996 South American Junior Championship and 2000 FIBA Americas Under-20 Championship. He also participated in the 2001 FIBA Under-21 World Cup as he helped his squad earn the bronze medal.

The accomplishments didn’t end there for the talented big man. He transferred his skills to the senior national unit before participating in numerous Olympic Games, FIBA World Cup’s and FIBA AmeriCup’s.

At the individual level, Scola became the all-time leading scorer in FIBA AmeriCup history in 2015 and recorded the most points by an Argentina player at a World Cup in the 2010 iteration. Even at 39 years old, Scola helped his country win a gold medal at the 2019 Pan American Games and was a key contributor on the World Cup squad that reached the final.

Scola played in the NBA level for 10 years and made the All-Rookie first team in 2008. He was a successful role player who had old-school post skills but also had the ability to step out and make shots when he needed to.

Ultimately, Scola’s career will be remembered most for helping enhance his country’s love for basketball. Scola was a staple for 20+ years at the international level and was Argentina’s national flag bearer at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. He will go down as one of the most popular and impactful international players due to his longevity, consistency and passion.

While Argentina wasn’t able to capture a medal in his final tournament, it was a celebration of his career and the country’s continued success as one of the most feared team’s on the FIBA basketball stage.