Last hurrah: Keith Langford representing Kansas basketball as his career nears end

Kansas basketball (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Kansas basketball (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Keith Langford will retire from the hardwood after The Basketball Tournament, but the former Kansas basketball star gave everything he had to ensure yesterday wouldn’t be his final game.

Although it was a team effort, Keith Langford led the charge in Mass Street‘s thrilling 70-67 comeback victory over We Are D3 in round one of The Basketball Tournament (TBT).

The 39-year-old southpaw announced his impending retirement back in May, stating that he would officially hang up his jersey after he represented the Kansas Jayhawks in TBT. And despite being the oldest player on the court — even older than head coach Marcus Morris — Langford was the only reason Mass Street had a shot in the latter stages of the game.

In 23 minutes, Langford scored 15 points on 5-for-11 shooting, also recording five defensive rebounds. He received the start at point guard, which was unfamiliar territory for him. Playmakers Mario Chalmers and Tyshawn Taylor did not compete in the contest, so he was forced to take over as the team’s primary ball handler.

It has been more than 18 years since Langford played for Kansas basketball in Allen Fieldhouse, but he displayed many of the same qualities he held as a Jayhawk — grit, hustle, and being a cold-blooded killer when it matters most.

READ: Ranking the 10 most underappreciated Jayhawks ever

Part of the reason that Langford, who became renowned in the EuroLeague over the years, decided to retire was because of a nagging Achilles injury. He was never able to fully rehabilitate the ailment and admitted he played through some pain last night. However, something like that has never been known to slow him down, especially in what could have been his final professional basketball game ever.

Coming out of halftime trailing by nine points, things were looking grim for Mass Street. Langford’s scoring spree carried Mass Street to its eventual triumph. He proved to the world that experience often beats out young talent.

Langford is a legend at Kansas, reaching two Final Fours and earning All-Big 12 honors twice. His 1,812 career points rank No. 8 on the all-time Kansas basketball scoring list.

He and the rest of the Mass Street squad will look to continue their winning ways this Saturday when they face off against the Show Me Squad, which is the Mizzou alumni team in TBT.

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