Robert Archibald passes away aged 39 -

Robert Archibald passes away aged 39

Robert Archibald basketball

Former Great Britain centre and the only Scotsman to ever play in the NBA, Rob Archibald, passed away on Friday at the age of 39.

The 6’11” big man had a successful professional career and represented GB for six straight years from 2006-2012, collecting 46 caps which culminated in suiting up at the London 2012 Olympics.

University of Illinois athletics officials confirmed Archibald’s death Friday afternoon but the circumstances around his death remain unclear.

Starting his career with Dunfermline Reign where he won two Scottish titles, Archibald headed to the US to attend Lafayette High School for his Senior year, where he won a full scholarship to NCAA Division 1 school Illinois – qualifying for 3 trips to March Madness and reaching the Sweet 16 as a starter in 2002 – before being selected by the Memphis Grizzlies with 32nd pick in the 2002 NBA Draft.

Stints with Memphis, Phoenix, Orlando and Toronto in the NBA followed, before carving himself a successful career in Europe, predominantly in Spain, but also having played in Italy, and Ukraine – where he won the Ukranian Superleague and Cup in 2008, whilst also securing the Finals MVP. He played 4 seasons in the Euroleague; one year each with Scavolini Pesaro and Joventut Badalona and two seasons with Unicaja Málaga.

He retired in 2012 after the Olympics with GB. He had career averages of 6.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in 37 appearances for GB, with an international career-high of 23 points against Switzerland in 2007.

British Basketball Federation chairman Maurice Watkins commented: “We are deeply saddened to learn of Robert’s passing.

“He was a fantastic ambassador for Scottish and British basketball and will be fondly remembered for his great contribution to the game in our country, his talent and his achievements.”

Kevin Pringle, Chief Executive of Basketball Scotland, added:

“The news of Robert’s death is a complete shock to us all. He was a wonderful man and a great friend, as well as being a trailblazer and an inspiration to others. Robert loved the sport and demonstrated what can be achieved through hard work and the right attitude.

“Throughout his extraordinary career he always played with pride and determination, and was always a credit to his country, whether representing Scotland or GB at home or abroad. The basketball community has lost a great role model and a true friend, and the thoughts of the whole community are with his family at this difficult time. We will miss him.”

Tributes have come flooding in across social media from former teams and teammates:

View this post on Instagram

Honestly can't get my head around the passing of my friend Rob Archibald. We played in Spain for a year together. As well as a number of years together on the national team which also competed at the 2012 Olympics. One of the hardest mofos I had the privilege of being around. He always tried to improve our teams. Whether that was sacrificing his own game or offering advice. He was about winning as much as anything or anyone I know. I absolutely loved playing with this guy. I also enjoyed his company off the court. His personality wasn't for everyone and rubbed alot of people the wrong way haha and others loved him. He was very much like Marmite in that regard but we got along really well right off the bat. I think half of it was because he realised that I wouldn't take any shit from him and I believe he respected me for that. Only a month younger than myself. It really highlights the important shit, but makes it that much harder to believe he's now gone. Rest easy bro ❤️

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