The NBA is currently booming with a plethora of young stars leading the league to the top of the sports world. Fans connect with individual athletes that lead their favorite teams. Many believe the NBA has the potential to surpass the NFL in the next few years due to both leagues trending in different directions. The youth of the NBA is seeing new young stars enter the league every year to make an impact. All-stars are typically in their mid-20s to early-30s with those being the prime years of a top athlete. Veterans have a tough time finding a role as they grow in age.
Many noteworthy stars have been forced to quietly retire in recent years. The likes of Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan were celebrated for their legendary careers ending. That just doesn’t happen for the majority of retiring star. Hell, some of the veterans are still active and fans lose interest in them. There are various established NBA names still playing in the league with minimal game time. Others have continued their careers in different countries. We’ll take a look at both sides of the later years of an NBA player with eight stars you didn’t realize retired and another seven you weren’t aware are still active.
15 Retired: Stephen Jackson
The very outspoken Stephen Jackson always gave his all on the NBA court. As a second round draft pick, Jackson had to battle his way into NBA relevancy playing for eight different teams in the NBA. Jackson was waived by the Los Angeles Clippers in 2015 and that ended his playing career in the league. ESPN hired him as an analyst but Jackson still missed the NBA hardwood.
14 Still Playing: Josh Childress
The Atlanta Hawks drafted Josh Childress with the 6th overall pick in 2004. Obviously, they expected him to become a fixture on the team with his All-Star potential. Childress earned a strong reputation in college playing for Stanford University. The career of Childress didn’t bomb right away. He averaged double digits points during all five season in Atlanta but never improved into a star.
13 Retired: Landry Fields
The playing career of Landry Fields ending is an absolute shocker given he’s only 28 years old. Fields looked like he was going to be a starting caliber shooting guard for many years during his early seasons with the New York Knicks. The combination of impressive defense and a good outside shot made Fields stand out for contributing on both sides of the floors. Fields was in such high demand that the Toronto Raptors snagged him away from New York with a big contract offer.
12 Still Playing: Metta World Peace
Everyone enjoys the antics of Metta World Peace but very few realize he’s still on the Los Angeles Lakers. Formerly Ron Artest, the talented NBA player was one of the best defenders of his time and helped contribute to the Lakers winning the 2010 NBA Championship. World Peace tried to follow his name by playing in other leagues all the way in China and Italy. The Lakers decided to bring him back in the NBA by signing him in 2015.
11 Retired: Luke Ridnour
The Seattle SuperSonics drafted Luke Ridnour in the legendary 2003 draft. Ridnour did not evolve into the superstars like many others from his class but he did contribute to the team as a solid starting point guard for a few seasons. The play of Ridnour declined over time with him losing standing as someone teams wanted to grab. This was cemented when he became a weird “did you know” fact in NBA history.
10 Still Playing: Andre Miller
Andre Miller is currently the oldest player in the NBA today as a reserve for the San Antonio Spurs. At the age of 40, Miller refuses to retire in hopes of contributing to the betterment of a team. Miller has a great track record as a facilitator getting the other players on the team involved in the offensive game. During the 2001-2002 season, Miller led the league in assists with 10.9 per game.
9 Retired: Elton Brand
The very talented Elton Brand is one of the more underrated players to recently retire. Unlike the bigger names to end their time in the NBA, Brand did not receive a big celebration or memories shared about him. His career deserves to be recognized considering he made two All-Star appearances and averaged 20+ points per game in six different seasons. Brand led the Los Angeles Clippers to the playoffs in 2006 at a time when the franchise was in shambles.
8 Still Playing: Udonis Haslem
Dwyane Wade may have left the Miami Heat for the Chicago Bulls but one staple of the Heat organization remains on the team. Udonis Haslem has been in Miami since getting drafted in the 2003-2004 season. Haslem contributed greatly to the Heat’s NBA Championship in 2006 but has seen his role diminish through the years. Still, he serves as a locker room leader and is a fixture in the community.
7 Retired: Kenyon Martin
Kenyon Martin had a strong NBA career with his best years taking place with the New Jersey Nets and Denver Nuggets. The Nets made two consecutive NBA Finals with Martin being the second best player on the team behind Jason Kidd. Martin had an intense style that provided toughness and reliability during his better days in the league. Injuries caused a decline with Martin losing some of his athletic ability.
6 Still Playing: Andray Blatche
The story of Andray Blatche’s career is rather sad. Blatche was once viewed as one of the more talented centers in the NBA. The averages of 16.8 points and 8.2 rebounds in the 2010-2011 season giving Washington Wizards fans reason to believe he would be something special. That upward momentum ended the following season when Washington benched Blatche due to “lack of conditioning” and later waived him.
5 Retired: Hedo Turkoglu
Hedo Turkoglu had an underrated career in the NBA with stints on the Sacramento Kings, Orlando Magic, Toronto Raptors, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers. Turkoglu played a huge role in the Magic getting to the 2009 NBA Finals. The overall play of Turkoglu allowed him to contribute for many years before older age saw his play regress. A lack of playing time on the Clippers marked the end of the Clippers time in the NBA.
4 Still Playing: Sasha Vujacic
Sasha Vujacic has been in and out of the NBA over the past twelve years. The Los Angeles Lakers is where he achieved the most success of his career, including hitting the clutch free throws in Game 7 that helped the Lakers win the 2010 NBA Championship over the Boston Celtics. Vujacic spent the following season with the New Jersey Nets but failed to impress with an increase of playing time.
3 Retired: Larry Sanders
At just 27 years old, many pundits Larry Sanders to be an All-Star caliber big man in the NBA by now. Instead, he has retired from the game and it doesn’t appear he will return. The Milwaukee Bucks drafted Sanders and saw him play at the center position for five seasons. Milwaukee hoped he would be a fixture on the team for many years to come. Sanders stood out with great defense as one of the best shot blockers in the game and a very good rebounder.
2 Still Playing: Stephon Marbury
Stephon Marbury is one of the more decorated point guards to see his NBA career fall apart so quickly. The thirteen year tenure in the NBA saw Marbury make two All-Star appearances and put up impressive numbers during his prime. A return back home on the New York Knicks is ultimately what ended Marbury’s NBA career. The play of Marbury diminished and he started to become more outlandish off the court.
1 Retired: Jason Richardson
The career of Jason Richardson saw him average 17.1 points per game and hit double digit averages in twelve of his thirteen seasons in the NBA. Richardson provided great excitement as a highly entertaining player. Diehard fans remember him winning the Slam Dunk Contest in back-to-back years in 2002 and 2003. Richardson contributed to the Golden State Warriors, Charlotte Bobcats, Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers as a journeyman.
Injuries forced Richardson to see his contributions decline in his final few years with the 76ers. Richardson actually signed with the Atlanta Hawks in 2015 but found bone spurs in his right knee just a few weeks later. The fear of the potential of his ability to walk being impaired with another season saw him decide to call it a career. Richardson quietly retired with very little fanfare despite deserving more love for the fun memories he gave NBA fans.
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