New Zealand basketball great Kirk Penney admits retiring was an 'easy' decision

Penney has played 158 games for the Breakers.
Penney has played 158 games for the Breakers. Photo credit: Getty

New Zealand Breakers and Tall Blacks great Kirk Penney won't be losing any sleep over his decision to retire at the end of the Australian NBL season.

The 37-year-old announced his intention to hang up the sneakers in a heartfelt letter to Break Nation on Thursday.

Penny has played 158 games for the Breakers over six seasons across two stints, and has turned out for numerous teams around the world, including six games in the NBA.

Speaking to Andrew Gourdie and Jim Kayes on RadioLIVE, Penney revealed he didn't have to give the decision much thought.

"I think over the course of this season, it's been something I have been considering," he said.

"Coming into the end of it I think it's a pretty easy one in many respects, I just think it's a good time to move on."

Having rubbed shoulders with some of the greats of court, Penney said he looks back on his playing time with much fondness.

He admitted while it's been a great ride, he is looking forward to the next chapter - but won't be too far away from the game.

"I do think that coaching and that kind of teaching is something is appealing for sure," Penney said.

"It's a time in my life where I'm looking forward to the challenge, and looking forward to learning new skills and becoming a new professional in a new career because I've done this for a long time.

"I look at 19 years that I've been playing basketball professionally or at the college level, which in the States is still a really high level, and that's just a good innings."

Listen to Andrew Gourdie and Jim Kayes on RadioLIVE every Sunday.
Listen to Andrew Gourdie and Jim Kayes on RadioLIVE every Sunday.

For the time being, Penney's priorities lie firmly with the Breakers as they approach the post-season, and he hopes to go out with a bang.

"The main focus is just playoffs, and really just staying honed in on that. If I let my mind creep on that I feel like even 10, 20 percent, then my performance drops, I'd regret it," he said.

"This is just a wonderful time to retire with the Breakers, surrounded by family and friends and a team that has meant a whole lot to me."