NBL names trophy after retiring Wildcat Martin

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Six-time NBL champion and Australian Boomers guard Damian Martin has made the decision to retire after 13 seasons in the NBL and professional basketball.

The Perth Wildcats legend made the announcement on Tuesday and will hang up the sneakers as one of the greatest Wildcats of all-time and also one of the most decorated Australian basketball players.

With 342 NBL games to his name, the 35-year-old had a stellar career that included NBL championships in 2010, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2020 as well as six NBL Best Defensive Player titles.

Martin also took part in the Boomers 2016 Rio Olympics campaign that saw the team finish fourth, before he secured a gold medal with the Boomers at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

In a statement, Martin said: "It's been well beyond anything I ever thought was possible, and probably something I won't be really appreciative of until I sit down and take the time to really reflect on it.

"But the highlight for me is the way it's made my mum, my dad, my wife and my daughters feel.

"I'm really going to miss bringing my three-year-old daughter and my one-year-old daughter out onto the court at RAC Arena after a game and just seeing the sheer delight they get just from having seen Wilbur, the dancers, and getting to high-five my teammates."

Martin is one of just four players in NBL history to have won six titles, with he and teammate Jesse Wagstaff the only to do it at one club.

Wildcats head coach Trevor Gleeson said Martin was an honour to coach and is an inspiration for all players.

"Damo's the best player I've coached in over 400 NBL games," he said. "He's an inspiration and a high IQ player who gives everything he has to his team and to the contest.

"I've seen him play through multiple injuries that would have stopped most players from stepping onto the court. His toughness is second to none. He's a warrior who earned my respect many years ago.

"It's been an honour to coach him for the last seven years and, while a selfish part of me wishes he was playing on, I'm so happy he was able to go out in style with another championship."

Later on Tuesday, the NBL announced it was renaming the defensive player of the year award the Damian Martin Trophy.

NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said: "Damian Martin leaves the game as one of the NBL's all-time greats.

"He is one of only four players in the history of the NBL to win six championships and was named the NBL Best Defensive Player a record six times. He also represented the Boomers with great distinction at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and won a gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

"We think it's only fitting that we now award the Damian Martin Trophy to the NBL's Best Defensive Player after what has been an incredible career in recognition of arguably the greatest defender to play in the league in its 41- year history.".