Toronto Raptors: Jose Calderon calls it quits but won’t be forgotten

Toronto Raptors - Jose Calderon (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Jose Calderon (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /

On Monday, José Calderon announced his plan to retire after14 seasons in the NBA, eight of which were spent with the Toronto Raptors. How will he be remembered up north?

The word “magical” comes to mind when I think back to José Calderon’s eight seasons as a member of the Toronto Raptors. He was never the biggest, fastest or most talented player on the court, but the native of Villanueva de la Serena, Spain, in 895 career NBA games, gave it everything he had each time he stepped on a basketball court.

On Monday, following a 14-year career, the 38-year-old announced his plans to retire from the NBA. According to Ben Golliver of The Washington Post, Calderon’s post-retirement plans include joining the National Basketball Players Association as a special assistant to the union’s executive director, Michele Roberts.

The decision comes after Calderon, earlier in the summer, denied rumours of retirement. Ultimately, though, he was unable to find a team willing to grant him a roster spot, so the former Raptor had to come to terms with the reality that his playing days were, in fact, numbered.

“I know my weaknesses and I’m always honest with myself,” Calderon told The Post. He later expanded:

"“I wasn’t sure if I was going to be happy with the role that I had last year. I wasn’t playing, just helping and traveling the same amount. I was starting to miss my family a lot. I was watching a game the other day and I didn’t wish I was playing, which makes everything easier. When is the right time to say that this is it? [My retirement] is not official, but it’s almost. It’s about time. Maybe in the next couple of weeks, I’ll make an official announcement and file the papers.”"

From zero to hero

Calderon arrived in Toronto in August 2005 and nobody knew what to expect from him. His shot was far from a finished product; in 64 games in 2005-06, Calderon shot 16 percent from beyond the arc. The next season, he improved to 33 percent.

The rest is history, as Calderon would develop into one of the most reliable mid-range and long-range shooters in the league. What he lacked in athleticism, Calderon more than made up for in basketball IQ, and if you don’t believe me, here’s LeBron James discussing Jose’s on-court intelligence:

Just how Steve Nash, an unassuming, athletically deprived point guard, carved out an NBA path against all odds, José Calderon did the same. Like Nash, Calderon never won an NBA title. He came close in 2017-18, as a member of the Cavaliers, but Cleveland succumbed to Golden State in four games.

Ring or no ring, Calderon’s career was an undeniable success story, and a story that proved just how far one can go if they’re willing to work hard and continually grow, both as a player and a human being. Many former Raptors point to José Calderon when asked who their favourite teammate was during their time in Toronto.

As he prepares to officially close the book on his playing career, José Calderon can look back fondly at his time in the NBA. Back in 2005, he arrived as an enigma, but over a short period of time, José Calderon became a hero.

Next. One thing we learned from every Raptors game lats week. dark

Thank you, José. All the best in retirement.