The games of the 2017 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four will be the last of Andres Nocioni's brilliant career. The Real Madrid forward announced earlier in the year that this season will be his final one. In retirement, he will leave behind a great many EuroLeague accomplishments, of which winning the 2015 continental crown and that season's Final Four MVP award top the list – so far.
Nocioni, who left his native Argentina to sign for Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz as a teenager, became a force for that team in the early years of the century and helped turn it into a EuroLeague power. He played a key role in leading Baskonia to its first Spanish championship in 2002 and was an All-Euroleague selection in 2003 and 2004. Then he ventured to North America, where he would spend parts of seven seasons in the NBA. When Nocioni returned to Europe in March 2012, he first spent two and a half seasons in Vitoria again before joining Real Madrid, which is where he achieved some of his greatest feats.
His fiery character and work ethic are two of the traits Nocioni will always be remembered for. Those same traits helped him reach the pinnacle of international basketball while playing for Argentina, with whom he won gold and bronze medals at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, respectively, plus silver at the 2002 World Championships.
So far, Nocioni's three years with Madrid have produced two Spanish League crowns, three Copa del Rey trophies, the 2015 Intercontinental Cup and, most of all, the ultimate EuroLeague triumph before the team's home fans in 2015. This season, Nocioni has been mainly used off the bench to provide the experience and quality minutes that helped Madrid finish atop the longest EuroLeague regular season ever. And as we know from his admirable career, Nocioni's experience and leadership could prove decisive one more time in an environment like the Final Four.