Ex-players discuss life after their playing careers
Table Talk: Athletes' Retirement, the latest documentary produced by Euroleague Basketball, takes a serious look at what happens in the lives of Europe's best basketball players when their playing days come to an end. Listen in as retired players Bostjan Nachbar, Ademola Okulaja, Frederic Weis and Mar Rovira sit down for a candid discussion about retirement and life after basketball. Their discussion is added to by former Turkish Airlines EuroLeague champions Nikola Vujcic and Nikos Zisis, who is now playing in the 7DAYS EuroCup with Joventut Badalona and offers the perspective of a player on the cusp of retirement.
The 30-minute program centers around the four protagonists discussing their experiences outside of basketball during and after their playing careers, including the often difficult transition from EuroLeague player to retiree.
"Retirement is not easy," Vujcic, the current general manager for Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv, says. "You are finishing something that you did for 20 years."
Rovira, once the star of FC Barcelona's women's team and now a sports psychologist, helps to conduct an open conversation on retirement. She knows well from her own experience what goes through the minds of some retiring players. "Suddenly, if I wasn't basketball player, I was nothing, I was nobody," she says.
She is joined at the table by Nachbar, the EuroLeague Players Association managing director; Okulaja, the CEO of the Pro4Pros management and consulting agency; and Weis, a sports TV commentator on RMC France.
"Nothing will replicate the moments on the basketball court," Nachbar says. "The sooner you realize it, the better."
"What I learned is: don't be scared of what comes next," Okulaja offers. "Just do it."
The conversations touch on when is it time to retire, how to prepare for it, how it affects personal relationships, financial ramifications and much more. Fani Skoufi, the wife of Nikos Zisis, is also featured speaking about the family considerations surrounding retirement.
"All these 20 years that I have been playing, I feel that this is my university," Zisis says.
The film is the second Table Talk documentary produced by Euroleague Basketball. The original feature, Table Talk: Women in Sports, was released to commemorate International Women's Day on March 8 of last year. These films add to Euroleague Basketball's commitment to premium, long-form content by taking the discussion beyond the court to encompass all aspects of the sport and its protagonists.