After 18 years as an active player in Israel, 15 of them with Maccabi Tel Aviv, Derrick Sharp announced Wednesday that he was retiring from basketball. The guard, who will be 40 in October, will continue with the club in which he has become a symbol, serving as the second assistant coach.

"It's without a doubt the end of an era. I always believed he would outlast me," said Tal Burstein, who is favored to replace Sharp as team captain. "It won't be hard taking orders from him, but without a doubt it will be different now."

Sharp helped Maccabi win three Euroleague titles. In 2004, he he hit a buzzer beating three-pointer to tie Zalgiris, and Maccabi won in overtime en route to its second Euroleague title with Sharp.

Sharp wanted to keep playing this season, but team officials indicated they preferred to see him making the transition to coaching this year. Sharp took a coaching course at Wingate Institute last year.

The club announced it would hold farewell ceremonies for him.

"He's a winner at heart, and I learned more from him in two years than I did from other players in 10 years," said small forward Guy Pniny.