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Former Jazz forward Trevor Booker retires from the NBA

FILE: Utah Jazz forward Trevor Booker (33) in the third quarter during an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in Phoenix. The former Jazz forward announced his retirement on Twitter.
Associated Press

After eight NBA seasons, former Jazz forward Trevor Booker is hanging up his kicks.

Booker announced his retirement from the NBA on Twitter.

Booker released a statement on his retirement in his next tweet.

“This is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write. Do I just come out and say it at the beginning of this post or do I wait until the end? I think I’d rather tell some of my story first...

“Let’s start with a super shy, unsure, lanky built, box headed country boy that came from a city of two thousand people, one stop light, a Piggly Wiggly for a grocery store, and a graduating class of 12. I knew nothing other than country life. We had no resources at all. All I knew was family and outdoors, the simple and loving life. Being poor was so normal that you didn’t even know you were poor. It was just how everybody in the country lived. We had the best times just as long as we had each other. So let’s just say that I’m a proud country boy...

“This never nationally ranked kid managed to somehow make his way to the NBA, something that I never thought could happen coming from Whitmire, SC. When I was coming out of college, 6’7” was considered undersized for a power forward in the NBA. Just add that on to the list of challenges that made it harder for me. But I guess being a relentlessly hard worker and competitor can increase your odds. I had ACC commentators asking me if I was looking to go overseas after I’m done with college. The odds were always stacked against me but I loved it. I was ranked 49th on the mock draft but I worked my (expletive) off and busted everybody’s (expletive) that I went up against in NBA Pre-Draft. Needless to say I ended up getting drafted 23rd in the 1st round.

“I say all of that to say... I’m just a country boy that got to live out his dreams while doing something that he loved. This game has opened my eyes to a whole nother world outside the country life. I’m an owner of a private high school that was built from the ground up by myself and my best friend. I’m a minority owner of a major league soccer team in DC United. I own over 250+ doors of real estate. I’m partnered with Mark Cuban in a Shark Tank product. I’m doing things that I never even knew existed when I was growing up. All of this is possible because of the sport of basketball. I never knew that my love for the game would take me places that some people can’t even imagine.

“That’s why it’s so tough to sit here and write that I’m officially announcing my retirement from the game. It’s definitely a bittersweet moment and you can see why if you read this whole post. Although I’m retiring, you can definitely still catch me in front of the tv every night watching league pass.

“With all of that said, THANK YOU BASKETBALL! I have no clue where I would have ended up without you, but watch where you take me. I hope you guys continue to watch my journey because it’s definitely not over, it’s just the beginning.

“P.S. Thank you to my family, teammates, coaches/GMs, and fans. Without you guys this ride would have been a little more difficult.”

Jazz center Rudy Gobert was among those that congratulated Booker on his career.

Booker spent the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons with the Jazz, appearing in 79 games each season. He averaged 6.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists with Utah. Booker became a fan favorite in Salt Lake City with his hustle and grit. His most famous moment in a Jazz uniform came against Oklahoma City, where he tapped an inbound pass backwards, over his head to score and beat the shot clock, which had 0.2 left.

Booker also had stints with the Washington Wizards, Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers. He played college basketball at Clemson.