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New Zealand and Breakers' guard Aaron Olson has announced his retirement from big-time basketball.

The 29-year-old sharp-shooter says his heart isn't in the sport and he is returning to his native Canada.

"I don't have anything lined up, everything's up in the air," Olson said yesterday. "I am a little apprehensive about heading into the unknown, but I'm also looking forward to this new phase in my life."

A foundation member of the Breakers, Olson has not missed a game since the club joined the Australian National Basketball League in 2003. His 130 appearances are a franchise record, shared with Paul Henare.

"This is the toughest part, saying goodbye to teammates who have meant so much to me," Olson said. ... "But it's better I make the hard call now with plenty of time for the Breakers to finalise a replacement."

The club's most valuable player in 2005, Olson is the Breakers' leading scorer, with 1800 points, or 14 points a game. In 27 games for New Zealand, he averaged 8.2 points.

"My time in New Zealand has been great," Olson said. "Playing sport for a living is a dream job, so I feel I've been extremely privileged."

Breakers coach Andrej Lemanis said Olson's departure with two years left on his contact "leaves a hole".

"My disappointment at seeing him go is only tempered by the respect I have for Aaron ... [who] won't have made this call lightly," Lemanis said.

Lemanis is now looking to replace Olson with a local player.

- NZPA