Hungry Jack's NBL
Daniel Kickert Announces Retirement
Sydney Kings captain and former Australian Boomer Daniel Kickert has confirmed he’s played his last game, officially announcing his retirement earlier this week.
Kickert has called time on his impressive basketball career after playing for more than 15 seasons throughout Europe and Australia, including three NBL Clubs – Melbourne United, the Brisbane Bullets and the Sydney Kings – as well as several stints representing the green and gold.
“Looking back, I think the things that stand out the most to me in my career are representing our country and the relationships I’ve made along the way” Kickert said.
“Playing for Australia has been huge for me personally, it was a goal for me as young athlete coming through the system to be an NBL player and to play for the Boomers, so to check those boxes off is really special to me. The process to get there was always a difficult one, so to map it out and achieve those goals has been really enjoyable”.
“As well as the on-court achievements, it’s the friendships I’ve made, especially after returning to Australia and playing here in the NBL. Being able to play with guys who I grew up playing against and watch playing when I was overseas, to then representing the country with those guys, as well as the coaches has been a massive highlight”.
“The relationships I’ll take with me moving forward from here, that is definitely one of the most rewarding parts” Kickert shared.
Part of the first wave of Australian players to take the US College pathway, Kickert first made a name for himself at Saint Mary’s College. He was named to the All-West Coast Conference team three times, twice winning the team’s Most Valuable Player award and upon graduating was the school’s All-Time leading scorer.
From 2006 to 2014, Kickert spent the next eight years tearing it up throughout Europe. He was named an All-Star in Poland and went on to win a Championship in Ukraine in 2013.
After making the decision to return home to Australia, Kickert was one of the inaugural players to join the new Melbourne franchise, Melbourne United. He was named to the All-NBL First Team in his second season in the league before making the move to the new look Brisbane Bullets.
In 2016 He became the first ever NBL player in history to make the 50-40-90 Club (which he again achieved the following season), averaging 12.8 points per game, shooting it at 54.4 percent from the field, 45.9 percent from three and 95.0 percent from the line.
“In the NBL, I guess people always talk about my 50-40-90 achievement. It’s a really cool thing to be a part of, but it’s definitely not something I ever set out to achieve. Since College I was always encouraged that if you shoot 50% from the field, 40% from three, and 80% from the free throw line, that’s a really good goal to aim for”.
“It was always more about the efficiency of it, not so much about getting those numbers to make it into the Club. I’ve always tried to make it part of my game to take good shots that I know I could make, and if I couldn’t, then get the shot to someone else. So that’s something I think and hope I’ll be remembered for, just someone who always tried to be efficient” Kickert shared.
Since his move to Sydney, Kickert has played an integral role in the revitalisation of the Club, helping the Kings to a Minor Premiership, and the Club’s first Grand Final appearance since 2008 last season. The ultimate leader, he also threw himself into the role of being a mentor for young bigs like Jordan Hunter who have come through the Club.
As well as an impressive NBL career, Kickert was also given the opportunity to show off his talents at the highest level with several call-ups to the Australian Boomers squad. He was on the winning Boomers team that took out the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup tournament, as well as picking up a gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
With the details of the NBL 2021-22 season still to be announced, the plan is for Kickert to remain in Sydney and continue working with the Club next season.
“There’s a million people I’d like to thank but specifically the Sydney Kings organisation. Paul Smith, Paul Kind and Chris Pongrass, and the entire organisation and medical staff have really helped me. I’m 38, so especially these last three years, I’m really grateful that they have put me in a position where I was able to continue to succeed and continue to play” Kickert said.
“The way the organisation has turned and is headed, the Kings are a Club that aren’t just about wins and losses. They really do invest in people, and not just the people here and now but also their futures, and I feel that, and that’s why I’m so grateful and excited to be a part of this Club” Kickert added.