Maccabi Tel Aviv great Tal Burstein announced his retirement from professional basketball at a press conference on Monday evening at Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv. Burstein, 32, took the decision to walk away from the game after learning that he would have to undergo surgery on his injured hip, which would have cost him the entire 2012-13 season. Injuries have plagued Burstein over the past few years. He missed the first nine Euroleague games of the 2006-07 season and played in just two games the following year. Burstein was a starter on the great Maccabi teams that conquered back-to-back Euroleague titles in 2004 and 2005. His first continental title came in his first year with Maccabi when he helped the Israeli juggernaut win the 2001 SuproLeague in Paris. Burstein’s second-quarter fastbreak slam in the final against Panathinaikos stands as Maccabi's biggest highlight in that final. He walks away from the game having reached seven Final Fours in 11 seasons with Maccabi.
Burstein will long be celebrated as one of the greats to don the Maccabi yellow and blue. He is ranked 13th on the club’s all-time list of scorer’s in European competition with 1,224 points. He has also collected 10 Israeli League championship rings, 8 Israeli Cups and the 2012 Adriatic League crown. Burstein retires ranked fifth on the Euroleague all-time list of games played for one team with 178. Burstein began his professional career at Bnei Herzliya and proved himself to be an elite talent as the captain of the Israeli national team that won the silver medal at the 2000 European U-20 Championships. He joined Maccabi after that and remained there for the remainder of his playing days – spare the 2007-08 season, which he spent with Spanish side Fuenlabrada.