Like every professional sports player, people who play in the NBA have somewhat short-lived careers. Even if they were your favorite player of all time, it may be hard to keep up with what they’re doing post-basketball career. Let’s check in on some of the best NBA players who you may have forgotten about recently.
He enjoyed a great career over the years. This diminutive guard fresh from the University of Arizona started out with the Vancouver Grizzlies before he joined the Sacramento Kings. He was part of the reason the Kings were such a huge threat in the Western Conference! You may not recognize him now because he has been going to the gym a lot. After he stopped playing, he took on the head coach position at Shadow Mountain High School and led the team to four consecutive state championships. He now captains Ghost Ballers in the Big3.
At the peak of his career, he helped usher in the ‘Bad Boy’ Pistons ballgame. He was a bigger player than his size might let you think, and went on to be an elite defensive player. Ben Wallace was even named the Defensive Player of the Year four separate times. By doing this, he helped the team beat the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2003-2004 finals. After he retired, he had to deal with a lot of problems. He has said that he has been dealing with depression since he quit. Luckily, things have improved for him since those days. He is now the part-owner and President of the Grand Rapids Drive.
Mehmet Okur was simply the victim of the wrong era. This 6’11” man preferred to spread the floor from the deep instead of banging in the post. He managed to shoot 37.5 percent from behind the arc! He made it to All-Star at one point and played 10 seasons before finally quitting in 2012. He has stayed heavily involved in basketball, however. He was the Utah Jazz ambassador for two seasons and went on to be an assistant coach for the Suns. He was placed in charge of player development during the latter, although he got fired one season later. He and his family now live in San Diego. He likes to box and hike!
Hedo Turkoglu proved to be a solid player for the majority of the time he spent in the NBA. He got his start with the Sacramento Kings, where he became one of the best bench players of the league. After this, he played for Orlando and reached his career highs of 17.5 PPG, 6.4 RPG, and 5.5 APG. He made history as the first Turkish baller in the NBA too. At the moment, he has since returned home and works tirelessly there. Starting in 2016, he is a chief advisor to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He has also been in the spotlight after a tiff with current NBA baller Enes Kanter, who supports Erdogan’s opposition instead.
J.R. Rider had a lot of natural ability. He was an unbelievable leaper and won the Dunk Contest in 1994. However, he struggled both in and out of the court. He had substance abuse problems that led to a 7-month stint in jail. These days, he lives in Phoenix. In 2019, he became the coach for the Phoenix Hillcrest Prep. He took on the position of skills development director as well. Founder Nick Weaver had this to say about him: “Isaiah is going to bring a wealth of knowledge to the program and be a great mentor to all of the kids. He will add a new dimension to the program being he was a long-time NBA player that had a ton of success.”
Not many people have the same dunking abilities that Shawn Kemp boasts of. He resembles Zion Williamson when it comes to athleticism and physicality, but he was easily one of the best NBA players in the ‘90s. While he did not receive the same attention that Karl Malone and Charles Barkley did, there was no denying how talented he was. He was a star on the basketball court, but things were not quite as smooth in his personal life. He has been arrested a couple of times for drug possession. One of his kids, Shawn Kemp Jr., recently played basketball for the University of Washington. After his failure to stay with an Italian team, he quit pro basketball. He is now busy running his nightclub in Seattle.
Ron Artest (Metta World Peace)
Metta World Peace, who used to go by Ron Artest, was a physically skilled athlete. He went from an All-Star scorer into a defense-minded player. If we ignore the ‘Malice at the Palace’ ordeal, you will see that his career had been great. He is now in a different chapter of his life and has dipped his toes into other fields. He has helped develop Ron Artest III, his son, into a basketball player at Cal State Northridge. He has appeared on a bunch of reality TV shows as well! The Artest Management Group, his company, helps fellow athletes build their own brand with the help of marketing platforms. He has also become an advocate for mental health issues.
Alex English is an underrated 8-time All-Star player. People seem to forget that he averaged more than 21 PPG over the course of his career. The three-time All-NBA Second Team player even led the NBA in terms of scores in the 1983 season. Now retired, he has a rather colorful life. He appeared in a number of films, which include the 1996 film Eddie. He portrayed the Cleveland Cavaliers head coach in the movie! He has also hosted basketball camps for underprivileged kids in other countries. This South California native recently started working as an on-camera basketball analyst for SEC Network.
We do not think that any other player joined the NBA with as much hype as Yao Ming did. It was a good thing that this 7’6” center did not disappoint! He was picked for the All-Star team 8 out of 10 seasons. Naturally, he was also the de facto basketball ambassador to China. His popularity helped basketball explode all over Asia. After his retirement, he has appeared in the limelight a few times. In 2016, he received an induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Dividing his time between Houston and Beijing, he was recently elected as the Chairman of the Chinese Basketball Association. Aside from this, he owns the Shanghai Sharks, his former team. He is active in several charities as well.
Do you know why they consider Antoine Walker to be a cautionary tale of sorts? This Chicago native was good at scoring from anywhere on the court and went on to join three All-Star teams. However, he had financial issues that squandered the $108 million he earned during the course of his career. As of 2013, he was finally free from debt. He managed to turn his life around and sort out his financial issues at last. He has been working for Morgan Stanley and educating athletes on managing their money for the past four years. Aside from this, he has also worked as an analyst for sports television shows and radio networks.
Mark Price must be one of the purest shooters in the entire history of the league. Mark Price is one of the greatest players to have ever joined the Cleveland Cavaliers roster. This 4-time All-Star player played his best games in 1993. He averaged 8.0 APG and 18.2 PPG on 41.6% from three. It resulted in his All-NBA First Team selection. Even though he has stopped playing, it seems like basketball is going to rule his world forever. He has been a coach for a number of teams since his retirement. He started at a Minnesota high school before going to the Land Down Under and coaching there. He had a ‘shooting consultant’ stint for various NBA teams and then coached the Charlotte 49ers. Two years later, he got fired. After this, he worked for the Denver Nuggets as a shooting coach but got fired a year later.
This Kentucky native had been dynamic when he was playing in the NBA. He did great at the University of Kentucky before he embarked on his 13-year career in the big leagues. After his playing days, he started to work as a front office member for various NBA teams. This was the time things started to go downhill for him. In 2014, he got arrested for stealing more than $14k worth of Apple products. He sold them at a pawn shop and eventually got arrested. He also went to rehab for a pain killer addiction around the same time. It was a good thing he has managed to break the habit and now helps young people fight off the same demons. Aside from that, he is consistently funny on his Twitter account!
Jason “White Chocolate” Williams had been a delight to watch. With his athletic ability despite his smaller-than-ideal size, he slayed on the basketball court. He had phenomenal passing skills and always had a lot of enthusiasm on the floor. He retired in 2011, but he plays ball fairly often. He is a staple in a lot of pro-am settings. He was supposed to play in the Big3, although a knee injury interfered with this. He now lives in Miami with his family. His son Jaxon went viral after videos showed him driving around defenders. We would not be surprised if he chooses to follow in his father’s footsteps in the future.
For a decade, Larry Johnson terrorized his opponents when he played for both the New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets. The bouncy but powerful player was a very skilled rebounder. He was able to carve out space and played with a lot of energy. After he quit the NBA, owner James Dolan hired him for the position of basketball and business operations representative for the Knicks. He attends home games and works as a PR figure alongside Dolan. We do not know just yet if he plans to come back to the court to join the other power forwards in the current roster of the team. Only time will tell if this will happen.
There was a time when Vin Baker was one of the best power forwards in the league. The 6’11” man could not only bang in the post but stretch the floor as well. This 4-time All-Star pick played for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Seattle SuperSonics. Sadly, his personal life had been a bit of a mess. He dealt with alcohol abuse and squandered $100 million. It was a good thing that he managed to turn things around. Baker has been sober since 2011 and once worked as the manager of a Connecticut Starbucks location. Aside from this, he also worked as a TV analyst for the Bucks. In 2018, he got hired as an assistant coach for the same team.
Oliver Miller got a lot of flak for his weight, but he was always a skilled player. Sadly, he failed to reach his full potential because of this ability to get in perfect shape. He bounced around without much consistency to offer. When his NBA career ended, he had to deal with a lot of personal life problems. In 2011, he was involved in a fight at a barbecue and got charged with both first and second-degree assault. He got five years of jail time but only served one of them. He then relocated to Arizona and reportedly sold cars. He has worked hard to shed some weight and lost 60 pounds by 2018!
Penny Hardaway is truly a good example of “what ifs.” He had a lot of potential when he joined the NBA. At the top of his game, he was a top-10 player. Sadly, injuries kept happening and prevented him from becoming a true basketball talent. He was never the same after this. This Memphis native has a number of businesses in the area and has been a fixture there for many years. His alma mater even hired him for their basketball program in 2018. He has hit the ground running and has proven to be a great recruiter.
Even though Kobe Bryant was not a fan of his in the beginning, Andrew Bynum developed into an integral part of the Lakers. He was picked for the All-Star team once and helped LA win two titles in the eight seasons he played for them. Sadly, multiple injuries prematurely ended his career in 2014. Let us see what this 31-year-old has been doing since then. After retirement, he has mostly flown under-the-radar. In 2016, he attended Game 4 of the Finals sporting a bizarre hairdo. A lot of clips reveal that he had been trying to return to the NBA. He has been going to the gym a lot, but we do not know if he will get another shot to make it big in the league.
Many Chicagoans were thrilled to hear that the Bulls drafted native Eddy Curry during the 2001 Draft. He was the No. 4 overall pick! Sadly, he had to cut his tenure short because of his irregular heartbeat. After this, he went from one franchise to another until he up and left for Asia. His life is very different these days. Last year, he played for the Zhuhai Wolf Warriors of the ASEAN Basketball League. He now plays on the Killer 3s in the Big3. It features other NBA players like Stephen Jackson, Josh Powell, C.J. Watson, and Donte Greene. He has seven kids, four of whom he had with his wife Patrice.
Kwame Brown was picked no. 1 out of high school, so even the likes of Michael Jordan had high hopes for him. Sadly, he never managed to live up to the expectations people had of him. He failed to score around the basket enough times. He was not the most attentive when it came to defense either. He proved to be a bust, but this has not stopped him from playing ball anyway. He is a recurring player in the Big3 League. It is interesting to hear that he was chosen as the No.5 overall pick during the inaugural season of the league. He is in great shape and considered to be one of the better players there.
Delonte West has a rather sad story. After he played in college with Jameer Nelson, it looked like he was off to a great career in the NBA. He was a great player for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics. He bounced around a couple of teams before he ended up abroad in China. He reportedly received a Bipolar Disorder diagnosis. In 2016, one fan saw him loitering in a Jack-in-the-Box parking lot wearing nothing but a hospital gown. There were also reports that claimed he was seen begging in Maryland, although he denied that he needed the money and said he was helping a homeless man. A few years before this, cops pulled him over and found guns in his car. In 2018, he was featured in the news after he put up his 4,471 sq. ft. Maryland home for almost half the price he bought it for. It got foreclosed instead.
Zydrunas “Big Z” Ilgauskas was a beloved player when he was with Cleveland. No one would confuse him for Hakeem Olajuwon, but he still proved to be an effective player. He was an All-Rookie pick, selected for two All-Star teams, and had his number retired by the Cavs. He and his wife decided to adopt two orphan brothers from Lithuania, his home country. He continues to live in the United States and has been working as a volunteer assistant coach for a top high school in the Rock and Roll Capital of the World. In 2018, the city of Cleveland even honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award!
Poor Darko Milicic! It was never his fault that the Detroit Pistons picked him over Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, and Carmelo Anthony. This Serbian player only had a career average of 6.0 PPG and never did better than 8.8 PPG in a season. He has become known as one of the NBA’s biggest busts. Aside from basketball, he also had a brief career in kickboxing. He has since returned to Serbia and now plays on a different field… We mean this literally! He runs a highly successful agribusiness on 125 acres of farmland. He has made a lot of profit by exporting apples and cherries to different parts of the world.
Damon “Mighty Mouse” Stoudamire had been a fun player to watch. Only 5’11”, he compensated for his diminutive size by playing with lots of energy and competitiveness. In the first three years, he played for Toronto and averaged 19.7 PPG. He failed to recreate this during his time with Portland, although he was still a highly valuable member of the team. The heady player decided to go into coaching after he retired. He was at Rice for a short time and then landed assistant coaching positions with Memphis, Arizona, and then the Grizzlies. In 2016, he began working as the head coach of Pacific. He has a combined record of 39-58 in three seasons.
Bryant Reeves, also called “Big Country,” is the de facto ambassador of the now-defunct Vancouver Grizzlies. This Oklahoma State alumnus had great touch and a massive physique. He never went on to become an elite player, however. Still, both Vancouver and Memphis fans appreciated him. How did he fare after the end of his career? He disappeared into obscurity and found himself in a small Oklahoman city where he owns a cattle ranch spanning 300 acres. If you ever find yourself in Stillwater, make sure to be on the lookout for him! His son Trey is a senior forward on the basketball team of Oklahoma State.
Jerry Stackhouse had an impressive career during his time in the NBA. He had an average of 29.8 PPG when he played for the Pistons in the 2000-2001 season. For such a big guard, he had great footwork. He had no issues tackling the rim off the bounce either. He managed to score over 20 points per contest on 5 different occasions. After his NBA career, he went on to be a commentator and then an assistant coach for the Raptors. He got to coach the Raptors’ G-League team too. He seemed to enjoy developing young players, so it was a good fit for him. He also worked as an assistant head coach for the Grizzlies. In 2019, he was named as the head coach of Vanderbilt.
Stephon “Starbury” Marbury was slated to be the next great guard from New York. This Brooklyn native had been a legend in the area before he went to Georgia Tech. He had an average of 19.3 PPG during his career, although he had a lot of off-the-court issues. In 2010, he made a choice that changed the course of his life. He 9 years in China and led the Beijing Ducks to victory three times. He was so beloved there that they commissioned a statue for him, put him on a stamp, and made a musical about him. He is a permanent resident after receiving a Green Card. He is now the head coach of the Beijing Royal Fighters.
Robert Swift was the No. 12 overall pick out of high school. Seattle SuperSonics clearly expected him to be an elite player, although he did not make much of an impact during his four years in the NBA. There were a bunch of personal issues like drug use and jail time that plagued his life. It was a good thing that he decided to clean up his act. He signed a deal with a Spanish basketball team in 2018. After debuting, he went on to be a fan favorite. He is currently engaged. We are glad that things improved for him!
Steve Francis was the sort of player who looked like he might be a Hall of Famer in the future. He was quick and explosive on the court, making it hard to check him. He spent seven years in the NBA and got the Rookie of the Year Award and made 3 All-Star appearances. Unfortunately, there were many inner demons he needed to contend with. He fell out of the league when he was just 31 years old. After his stepfather died, he got depressed and ultimately started abusing alcohol. He looks very different from the way he used to and has been arrested several times for different crimes. In 2018, he wrote an essay that was published on The Players’ Tribune about his life problems. Two weeks after that, he got arrested for public intoxication in LA.
In 2009, the Memphis Grizzlies selected Hasheem Thabeet in the 2009 NBA Draft, with the second overall pick. There was so much attention over this and he has become one of the biggest busts in recent history, even though fans have no memory of him because of his lack of success in the past seven years. He has been out of the league for already four years now so it’s unlikely that he will be making a comeback.
Now 32 years old, Monta Ellis has been finished with the NBA for a year now and his return is looking slim. Although he was a good scorer, his success didn’t lead to many victories and did not win any individual awards. He is bound to be forgotten.
Josh Howard is a name that you probably haven’t heard in quite some time. This forgotten All-star player is rarely mentioned and had a relatively short-lived NBA career of nine years. His decline began when he left the Dallas Mavericks. Although he was given three chances, he was never able to get his career back on track. He also had several injuries such as a torn ACL, which caused him to take an abrupt hiatus from his career.
In 2000 Kenyon Marin was drafted as the first pick of the NBA Draft. Overall he has a good career but he didn’t live up to the initial hype. He is best remembered for his days on the New Jersey Nets and later the Denver Nuggets. However, if you don’t become a star in the NBA then you are more likely to be forgotten.
Another player that drafted in 2000 but failed to become an All-star is Jamaal Magloire. Some even say he is the worst player in history. He did have several good seasons before his decline and managed to stick around for a few years.
In the 2003 NBA Draft, Chris Kaman was drafted sixth by the LA Clippers. He then went on to play for eight years with some honorable seasons, including the 2010 campaign that earned him an All-star appearance. However, the majority of his career was spent playing terrible games, so it makes sense why not many fans remember him.
There was a point in time that fans were talking about Roy Hilbert as one of the best center forwards in the league. Unfortunately, the league transformed overnight with the rise of the Golden State Warriors. With the league adapting, Hilbert was slowly no longer needed in the NBA and he couldn’t even land a job for two seasons. He recently announced his retirement but it went unnoticed.
In his day, Michael Redd was one of the best scorers in the league. He was best known for his three-point shooting and managed to put up some impressive stats. However, he suffered an injury that tore his ACL and MCL. After this, he was never the same. He does have some successful awards, yet he is still a forgotten name.
During his career in the NBA, David Lee was known as a double-double machine. His defense was always criticized but he was still able to make a name for himself and respectable career, including two All-Star appearances and an NBA Championship. In 2017 he planned to retire and although it’s only been a few years, he is already been forgotten. However, he is still known for assisting the Golden State Warriors in turning the team into a winning one.
Brandon Roy was once one of the best players in the league but his retirement came too quickly. After his success with the Portland Blazers, Roy put his career on pause due to various health reasons. He struggled to make a comeback and is now a distant memory to previous fans.
Back in high school, O.J. Mayo set the court on fire every week. There was so much hype surrounding him that he was even said to be the next Lebron James. Once he reached the NBA he has one great season, but it was not smooth sailing for Mayo. He never became a big success and now is facing a suspension for violating NBA rules. Now 30 years old, it doesn’t look like he will be redeeming himself.
Smith is 32 years old with the talent to continue in the NBA. Unfortunately for him, he has struggled to land a job since he left the Atlanta Hawks back in 2013. Although he was known to be a good player, his lack of a three-point shot, as well as questionable shot selection, severely questioned his reputation. We don’t see him returning to the NBA anytime soon and instead will keep playing abroad.
When he first entered the league, Andrea Bargnani was compared to Dirk Nowitzki as he could shoot the ball across a full court. In 2006 he was drafted as the first pick and he played on the Toronto Rapers for a solid seven seasons before being transferred to the New York Knicks. However, his career was less than impressive, and today he is only mentioned by Raptors fans to say that they wish LaMarcus Aldridge was drafted instead of him.
Danny Granger was an NBA legend until injuries that ruined his career. He was the star of the Indiana Pacers and lead them to relevancy. However, before he even reached 30 his career was over. He tried to get back on to the court, but his health never held up and he did not impress when he did play. He did have one All-time star appearance, otherwise, he has been forgotten.
Rashard Lewis is a respectable player as a two-time NCA All-Star and was considered among the best three-point shooters in the league. His prime years were spent on the Seattle SuperSonics and Orlando Magic. However, he is yet another player who declined out of nowhere and has been slowly forgotten. He did manage to end his career with a championship with Miami Heat!
Wallace had some successful years in the league but not many success in the playoffs. He was, however, one of the best defenders in the NBA for some time, and made the All-Defensive First Team in 2010. Within five years he was out of the NBA by the age of 33. This player’s decline was rather surprising because he was known as one of the better all-around players beforehand.
Jay Williams was once said to be one of the best prospects in the world. With that being said, it is no surprise that he was taken as the second pick of the 20o2 draft. Especially given his accomplishments in the NCAA. He unfortunately only played one season in NBA before a motorcycle accident cut his time short. He attempted to return to the league, but he failed to earn a full-time contract and thus has been forgotten by most fans.
Back when he was a big shot on the Chicago Bulls, nobody could have predicted Gordon’s future downfall. He had many great seasons with the team, but he decided to move to the Detroit Pistons was a terrible move in his career. After this he was never the same by age 32 he was retired and forgotten by Bulls fans.
Bobby Simmons had a rather strange career with his slow start. His career picked up in 2004-2005 with his contract with the Los Angeles Clippers. At that point, he was named the most improved player. He then signed a major deal with the Clippers. Most people think that once he the saw money, he stopped trying and this led to his less than impressive seasons. Today he is known of the better one-hit wonders in NBA history.
Remember the nickname ” Skip to my Lou?” Then you know exactly who Rafer Alston is. He was one of the best and number 1 players prior to joining the NBA. Most people will remember him as a streetball legend rather than an NBA player. After he failed in his comeback in 2011, Alston decided to focus more on coaching today’s youth.