Basketball

One last dance for Luis Scola at Tokyo Olympics in 2021

The Argentine Golden Generation star says he will play at Games at the age of 41 before making retirement decision

By Ken Browne ·

Argentina basketball legend Luis Scola isn't done yet.

Scola says he will play at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, 17 years after he won gold with Argentina's Golden Generation at the Athens 2004 Games.

“When will it end? In a year, after the Olympics," Scola told Italy's Sportsweek on Saturday (14 November.)

"Only then I will decide what to do,” he said when asked about what's next. “I could stay involved in basketball, but not as a coach, eventually, only for young players. I’m already receiving plenty of proposals, but none have been as exciting as the idea of playing”.

Scola's storied career spans 25 years as a pro, playing in the NBA with the Houston Rockets, the Toronto Raptors, and the Phoenix Suns among others, while he's also brought his love for the game to Europe and China.

Currently playing with Openjobmetis Varese in Italy's pro league, Scola plays a game each week and continues to contribute impressive numbers averaging 23.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.4 steals, and 1.1 assists per LBA Serie A game.

The decision to play in Italy was made with his family.

“My children and wife did not like me being away from home so much, even making three trips a week” he noted, “It was a situation no longer suiting myself and my family. This was one of the reasons I moved to Varese.”

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A fifth Olympics for Scola

Scola will represent Argentina in the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics in summer 2021, pulling on the albiceleste jersey at an Olympic Games for the fifth time. He'll be 41 years young.

The announcement comes after speculation during the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup that Scola would hang up his boots after that tournament.

The 2.06m (6'9") power forward proved that he's still an integral part of the Argentina set up by inspiring the nations to a shock appearance in the final of the 2019 event, after leading the team to his first Pan American Games victory in Peru.

“He is not just the team captain. He is the captain of our whole country, our body, spirit, and heart, our inspiration,” Argentine guard/forward Patricio Garino said of Scola after their 80-66 win over France in the World Cup semi-final.

Argentina can look forward to having their talisman front and centre at the Olympics, allowing the country to dream big once more.