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Former Gonzaga center Robert Sacre retires to be with family full time in Spokane

UPDATED: Thu., Aug. 8, 2019

Robert Sacre played four seasons for the Los Angeles Lakers and three with the Sunrockers in Toyko, but he’s called Spokane home essentially since he set foot on Gonzaga’s campus as a freshman.

Now it’s Sacre’s permanent home.

The 30-year-old Sacre announced his retirement recently, surprising many in Japan because he was at the top of his game, but not those who know what means the most to the personable center.

“I just wanted to be closer to the family,” Sacre said. “I’m tired of going back and forth, and I have everything I wanted. What else do I need? Why do I want to go back and forth when I have everything I want back here.”

By that, Sacre means he has wife Vinessa, 8-year-old son Quinton, 3-year-old daughter Anastasia and son Santana, who turns 2 next month. The 7-footer also has acreage at his home in Colbert for goats, two Tennessee walking horses and the two pit bulls that have been with him since his Zag days.

Sacre was coming off his best season with the Sunrockers. He averaged 19.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and nearly one block per game. He played in the B League All-Star game. He had consecutive games with 44 and 46 points, respectively.

Sacre, playing alongside former Zag Ira Brown in the 2017 season, averaged 15 points and 8.8 rebounds. He improved to 16.5 points and 7.5 rebounds the following season, earning a spot in the All-Star game.

“We are very sorry for disappointing the fans who were looking forward to seeing Sacre’s exciting play during the 2019-20 season,” the Sunrockers posted on the team website. “Sacre, who thought about the team more than anyone and who cherished all the people related to Sunrockers Shibuya … has made a careful decision.

“We at the Sunrockers were lucky to have a great player named Robert Sacre at the (beginning of the B League era) and to fight together as part of the team.”

Sacre is 100% healthy and thoroughly enjoyed playing in Japan, where his outgoing personality made him a fan favorite, similar to his Gonzaga career. The sticking point was the distance and time away from family.

“I had a blast (with the Sunrockers). I’ll make the best of any situation,” said Sacre, who grew up in North Vancouver, B.C. “For 10 months of the year, I was away from Spokane. The family went (to Japan) the first year, but now with a third child it was difficult to travel.

“I’m living the dream. Everything I’ve wanted has come true. I’m very blessed and fortunate for what the game has given me.”

Sacre started 111 games in four-plus seasons at Gonzaga. He averaged in double figures in his last three seasons, including a career-best 12.5 points and 6.3 rebounds in 2011. He shot 50.4% from the field and 73.5% at the free-throw line in 136 career games. He was named West Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2012.

Sacre was selected by the Lakers with the last pick, No. 60, in the 2012 NBA draft. He made 35 starts and played in 189 games. His best season statistically was 2014 when he averaged 5.4 points and 3.9 boards.

Sacre said he’s dabbled in real estate but doesn’t have immediate plans to work. He stays busy around the house and he’s excited to watch Quinton’s games. He still works out and plays basketball when it fits his schedule.

“It was tough (to retire), but I’m just on to another chapter, a new journey,” Sacre said. “If something comes up workwise I’ll take it, but that’s up in the air. I always have my stuff to do with the yard, the barn and the animals.

“That’s why I chose Spokane. We have a lot of friends here and this is where I wanted to end up.”

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