Melbourne United champion David Barlow leaves behind a dignified legacy after announcing his retirement.
In the bittersweet moment for the departing basketballer, Barlow addressed his teammates and the media on Thursday to share that he would be hanging up the boots to transition into a coaching position with the club.
The announcement sees the curtains close on his almost 20-year basketball career and 366 games in the NBL.
“I’m joining the Melbourne United coaching staff, which I’m incredibly grateful for and excited about. I can’t wait to continue working with you all albeit in a different capacity,” Barlow said.
“Obviously, I consider myself incredibly lucky to have been able to experience all that I have as a professional basketball player.
“What it’s given me in terms of experiences, relationships, good times and bad times, I’ll cherish for the rest of my life, especially with the relationships which a lot of you in this room fall under the category of lifelong friends.”
Barlow revealed that he has felt that he has been moving in the direction of coaching for a little while and intends to help United chase continued success.
“The game has given me a somewhat unique set of skills that I think I have found great happiness in passing on to my teammates over the years. So I always thought it would be somewhat of a waste to not utilise that on the regular,” he said.
“I guess here [at Melbourne United] we’re always just in the pursuit of sustained success and specifically the pursuit of championships and for me, that continues.
“At the moment, I think I can probably help us most as an advisor and as a coach. So that’s what I’m gonna do.”
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The 38-year-old first began his path in the NBL with the Sydney Kings following a stint at Metro State University in Denver.
From there, Barlow’s star began to rise.
He moved interstate to join the then Melbourne Tigers for two years, where he contributed to the side’s championship win during the 2007-08 season.
Another move was on the cards for Barlow, this time in Spain with CAI Zaragoza. The departing basketballer also saw championship success whilst in the Spanish league during the 2009/10 season. Barlow would spend a year in Poland, before flying back to Melbourne to sign with United.
After he signed with United, Barlow experienced the highs and lows of basketball during his time with the club including two championships in 2018 and 2021.
Over his almost two-decade decorated career, Barlow has won a total of five championships, three FIBA World Cup championships, and represented his country twice at the Olympics (2008 and 2012).
When reflecting on his career, Barlow conceded that whilst he’ll enjoy watching the game from the sidelines, there is potential for him to get nostalgic about his playing days.
“There’s gonna be days where I’m going to be incredibly happy sitting on the sidelines and watching [the team] kill each other on the court, and there will be moments for sure where I’m like ‘I wish I was out there right now’,” he said.
“That moment might come when we’re playing in front of our home fans and we’re having a good game, and it’s the last quarter and we’re just starting to roll over a team for example. Those are the memories you’ll never forget.”
United head coach Dean Vickerman had complete faith for Barlow in his desire to move into coaching.
“He’s been an elite leader in my time in the five years I’ve been with him,” Vickerman said.
“He’s won two championships and been a big part in both of those championships, not just statically what he did on the floor, but with his leadership, his ability to teach, [and to] be a coach on the floor.
“So certainly there was a very natural progression that we wanted to see [Barlow] move into the coaching ranks.”
David Barlow retires from basketball after playing 366 games in the NBL and scoring 3126 points. He won five championships across three clubs and was a part of the All-NBL 3rd team back in 2009.
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