January 17, 2019

Hanno Mottola Retires from Pro Basketball

2008/09/23 6:29 pm 6:29 pm6:29 pm6:29 pm 0 comments




Yesterday, Finnish hoops legend Hanno Möttölä retired from professional basketball.

Möttölä is without a doubt the best basketball player from Finland. Möttölä played for a lot of big time teams: Tau, Bologna, Zalgiris, Pesaro, Aris, Dynamo Moscow, and two seasons (155 games) with the Atlanta Hawks, making Mottola the first Finnish player to ever play in the NBA.

By Mottola’s senior season at the University of Utah, he was averaging more than 17 points per game. Americans will remember him most for his 15 point, 8 rebound clutch performance against future NBA All-Stars in the 1998 NCAA Championship Game, which ended in a loss to the University of Kentucky.  Many future NBA players were on both teams, including Nazr Mohammed, Scott Padgett, and Jamaal Magloirre for Kentucky, and Möttölä’s teammates Andre Miller, Britton Johnson, and Michael Doleac.

A lot of people viewed him as an underrated senior who could potentially be a game-changing NBA player.

Unfortunately for NBA fans, he only played a few minutes per game in his two years with the Atlanta Hawks.

He did not entertain other offers for NBA contracts. In 2002, he moved to Europe and established himself as one of the best big men in the game. In his best years in the EL and ULEB, he could average more than 15 points per game. He performed even better in domestic leagues.

After 12 years of professional basketball, and when Mottola was still performing well in the Euroleague, Möttölä’s retirement comes as somewhat of a surprise.  Even though his numbers were down, Möttölä could still compete at a high-level.

Mottola certainly had a few more years in him; he was injury-free, and had just turned 32 years old earlier this month.  The Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat reported that Mottola wanted to retire while he could still play well and that family definitely influenced his decision.

Links and Resources: Hanno Möttölä Tribute Thread (Interbasket), Hanno Mottola deceided to retire from basketball (theHoop.blogSpot.com), Hanno Mottola NBA Stats (basketball-reference)


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