Kaun said he started thinking seriously about retirement “toward the end of the season. I kind of feel my ankle has been bothering me awhile. With the amount of pain I was going through, I just wanted to be done. It’s something I’ve had all my career,” he added of right ankle problems. “It was definitely getting worse and worse, year by year. Especially coming here (one year in NBA after seven seasons in Moscow) … the intensity of the game I just kind of realized I don’t think I can go and do it any more. I said, ‘You know what? I’m not going to be happy playing. I’m not going to be happy not playing. I think it’s a good time to call it quits.’’’
Sasha Kaun, one of only two Kansas University basketball players, along with Hall of Famer Clyde Lovellette, to win an NCAA title (2008), NBA title (2016) and medal in the Olympic Games (2012 bronze), has decided to retire from pro ball at the age of 31. The 6-foot-11 Tomsk, Russia, native’s decision comes after a season in which he played in 25 games for the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers. Recently he was traded from Cleveland to Philadelphia, a team that immediately released him.
“I was very blessed and fortunate to play as long as I have. I had a great experience for the (Russian) national team and professionally. Overall, it’s been phenomenal,” Kaun said Saturday in a phone conversation with the Journal-World from Colorado, where he lives with wife, Taylor, daughter Nika (3) and son Maks (9 months old). “I want to say thank you to all the fans who have cheered for me in the years I was at KU and followed my career afterward as a professional. I’m happy to be a Jayhawk and look forward to seeing everybody once I’m back at the games (as fan). I’m just excited to be part of the (KU) family.”