NBL icon Tai Wesley calls time on playing career

play
Tasmania to return to NBL in 2021 (1:17)

The NBL has announced that Tasmania has been granted the NBL's 10th team, returning to the national competition. (1:17)

Two-time NBL champion Tai Wesley has called time on his basketball career, effective immediately.

Wesley, 34, who was contracted to the South East Melbourne Phoenix for the upcoming season, is based in the United States and says leaving wife Chyna and three children each year to play on the other side of the world had started to take its toll.

"The decision wasn't one that I took lightly," Wesley said. "Having this time in quarantine with your family makes you realise moving across the world is not an easy thing for them.

"With this coronavirus, it just felt like the right decision to make for me to put my family first. I got to live my dream for nine years and play across the world, it's time to put my kids and my wife first. It's been a crazy ride. It's bittersweet that it's coming to an end."

Wesley began his NBL journey with the Breakers in 2014, where he won his first league championship. He then moved to Melbourne United where he would claim title No. 2.

He then moved back to New Zealand before signing with the Phoenix ahead of the delayed 2020-21 season.

Phoenix coach Simon Mitchell says Wesley's experience and leadership will be missed by the entire South East Melbourne community.

"He'll be sorely missed amongst the group, not just for his personality but for his game, his leadership, and the way he represents the club in the community as well, which was a huge reason why we brought him in," Mitchell said. "He's just one of those guys you can build a culture around, both on the floor and in the community."