British basketball has reacted with “sadness” to the “shock” news that Robert Archibald, the only Scot to play in the United States’ National Basketball Association, has died at 39.
Born in Paisley, the forward/centre also represented Scotland and Great Britain at the Olympics.
British Basketball Federation chairman Maurice Watkins described Archibald as “a fantastic ambassador”.
Basketball Scotland counterpart Kevin Pringle said he was “a trailblazer”.
Archibald, whose first club was Dunfermline Reign, was the son of Scotland and GB captain Bobby Archibald, and went to high school and college in the USA on a basketball scholarship at the University of Illinois.
He began his senior career with Memphis Grizzlies in 2002 before moves to Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic and Toronto Raptors.
Archibald moved to Valencia in 2004 and played eight seasons in the Euroleague, joining Scavolini Pesaro, Joventut Badalona, with whom he won the Fiba EuroCup title in 2006, Azovmash Mariupol, Unicaja Malaga and CAI Zaragoza.
Having won his first cap in 2007, he played for Great Britain 42 times, including at the 2009 and 2011 EuroBasket tournaments, but retired in 2012 and went back to the USA to live and to work in insurance.
Great Britain centre Andrew Betts, who played with Archibald on the GB team and with Joventut, said: “I’m heartbroken to hear the news of the passing of my friend and team-mate Rob.
“He was truly one of the nicest, funniest guys I ever met. I spent some of my favourite years of basketball with him and his family on and off the court. RIP big fella.”
GB basketball’s Watkins was also “deeply saddened” to learn of Archibald’s passing in Chicago.
“He was a fantastic ambassador for Scottish and British basketball and will be fondly remembered for his great contribution to the game in our country, his talent and his great achievements,” he said.
Basketball Scotland chief executive Pringle said that the death had come as “a complete shock to us all”.
“He was a wonderful man and a great friend, as well as being a trailblazer and an inspiration to others,” he added. “Robert loved the sport and demonstrated what can be achieved through hard work and the right attitude.
“Throughout his extraordinary career, he always played with pride and determination and was always a credit to his country, whether representing Scotland or GB at home or abroad.
“The basketball community has lost a great role model and a true friend and the thoughts of the whole community are with his family at this difficult time. We will miss him.”
Article courtesy of BBC Sport