Legend of women’s basketball Laia Palau announces retirement at 42
Arguably the greatest Catalan player of all time leaves the game after two EuroLeague titles, 14 league titles, and 12 national team medals
Laia Palau, arguably the greatest Catalan basketball player of all time, has announced her retirement from the court at the age of 42. However, she prefers not to refer to the next phase of her career as ‘retirement.’
In a press conference on Wednesday, the legendary point guard explained that her basketball story is far from finished. "I don't want to use the word retired because I'm not really retiring from basketball, my love for this sport does not end here," she said.
Palau last played for Uni Girona, who finished third in the league championship this year, going out to Valencia in the playoff semi-finals.
She hangs up her boots with a raft of medals and titles to her name, ensuring her place in basketball folklore for good. Palau has two EuroLeague titles to her name, won with Ros Casares Valencia in 2012 and then again with Czech side USK Praha in 2015.
Added to that are 14 league titles won in four different countries: seven in Spain with Universitari de Barcelona, Valencia, and Uni Girona; two in France with Bourges Basket; one in Poland with CCC Polkowice; and four in the Czech Republic with USK Praha.
For the national team, she was central to the golden era that the Spanish team has recently enjoyed. She played a significant role in three of the four EuroBasket championships Spain has ever won: 2013, 2017, and 2019. All in all, she picked up 12 medals while representing the side. Palau has also played for Spain more times than anybody else, with 314 matches.
Despite spending such a long part of her playing career outside of Spain, she is also the player with the second-most amount of games played in the Spanish women’s basketball league with 556.
"Life has given me a tremendous career,” Palau said in the press conference announcing the next phase of her life. “This sport has been my life, it is my life and it looks like it will continue to be my life. I'm not leaving the pavilion."