General NBA

5 NBA Legends’ Forgotten Pit Stops

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There are few players throughout NBA History that are synonymous with their respective franchises. Kobe Bryant with the Los Angeles Lakers. Dirk Nowitzki with the Dallas Mavericks. Tim Duncan with the San Antonio Spurs. However, there are numerous legends from years gone by that have made pit stops in some peculiar places. Who could forget when Michael Jordan un-retired for the second time to play his final season for the Washington Wizards in 2002? Penny Hardaway and Shaquille O’Neal partied like it was 1995 when the Miami Heat reunited the duo in 2007 during Penny’s final season. Speaking of Shaq, can you recall the amount of teams he played throughout his illustrious career? During this list, however, I’m going to be looking at NBA legends who finished there careers on random teams.

 

5. Dennis Rodman – Dallas Mavericks

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Paul Buck/AFP/Getty Images

Dennis Rodman is one of the most dominant rebounders and defenders in NBA history. Rodman was a seven-time rebounding champion from 1992 through 1998. He was also named Defensive Player of The Year twice during his run with the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons in 1990 and 1991. Rodman would capture two championships with the Pistons, sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers and defeated the Portland Trailblazers the following year in five games. The Worm formed one of the greatest big threes ever, joining Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in 1995. The trio would go on to win three championships until Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Krause beheaded a rebuilding phase following the 1997-1998 season.

Rodman joined his hometown Dallas Mavericks prior to the 1999-2000 season, playing just 23 games with the Los Angeles Lakers the year before. Rodman’s career in Dallas lasted even shorter than his prior stint with the Lakers. Twelve games was all it took for Dallas to ultimately waive the legend due to his disinterest in the team. Teammate Steve Nash commented that Rodman “never wanted to be a Maverick” and therefore was unmotivated. Rodman would average 14.3 rebounds but just 2.8 points per game during his time in Dallas.

4. Robert Parish – Chicago Bulls

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Rocky Widner/Getty Images

Robert Parish is most famously remembered playing alongside fellow NBA Hall-of-Famers Larry Bird, and Kevin McHale. During his 14-year career with the Boston Celtics, Parish captured four NBA championships. The frontcourt of McHale, Bird, and Parish is considered one of the greatest in NBA history. Parish is currently the all-time leader in blocked shots (1,703), offensive rebounds (3,450), and defensive rebounds (7,601) for the Celtics. In 1991 he would sign as a free agent with the Charlotte Hornets at age 41.

Following his two years in Charlotte, Parish would join the legendary 1996 Chicago Bulls. During his final season he would capture his fourth NBA championship, becoming the third-oldest to ever play in an NBA game. The versatile center averaged 3.7 points and 2.1 rebounds while playing just an average of 9.4 minutes per game. Parish would retire on August 25, 1997.

3. Dominique Wilkins – Orlando Magic

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Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

One of the most athletic NBA legends ever, Dominique Wilkins is known for his tenure with Atlanta Hawks and his insane dunking abilities. Wilkins properly earned his nickname as the “The Human Highlight Reel” during the 1988 Slam Dunk contest. ‘Nique won two Slam Dunk contests in 1985 and 1990, and perhaps would have won in 1988 if Michael Jordan didn’t take off from the free throw line. Wilkins also has a scoring title under his belt from 1986 and was a nine time All-Star from 1986-1994.

Wilkins finished his career with the Orlando Magic during the 1998-1999 campaign. The season was his return to the NBA after spending the prior year with Teamsystem Bologna of the FIBA EuroLeague. While his time in Orlando wasn’t spectacular, Wilkins did get to play alongside his younger brother Gerald Wilkins. ‘Nique finished his career with the Magic averaging five points and 2.6 rebounds per contest.

2. Hakeem Olajuwon – Toronto Raptors

Olajuwon poses with Vince Carter upon joining the Raptors. (Photo: AP/Aaron Harris)

AP/Aaron Harris

Hakeem Olajuwon is in the top echelon on NBA legends, and is widely considered one of the best centers in the history of the NBA. “The Dream” famously spent the majority of his career with the Houston Rockets following his time in college at the University of Houston. Olajuwon captured two NBA titles for the Rockets, going back-to-back in 1994 and 1995. NBA Finals MVP was also awarded to the inventor of the dream shake during his two series victories. His peak year in Houston no doubt came in 1994, when Olajuwon became the only player in NBA history to win the NBA MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, and Finals MVP in the same season.

The Houston Rockets traded Hakeem to the Toronto Raptors in 2001. His time in the Six, however, was cut short, since he ultimately retired after just one season due to a back injury. Olajuwon averaged 7.1 points and six rebounds per game in Toronto, retiring as the all-time leader in blocked shots with 3,830.

1. Patrick Ewing – Orlando Magic

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Ron Frehm/AP

“We’ve had the Mikan era, the Russell era, the Kareem era… and now we’ll have the Ewing era.” That quote came from Pat O’Brien, who was quoting an unnamed NBA scouting director just before the 1985 NBA Draft lottery, foreshadowing the best of New York’s NBA legends. While Ewing never won the titles that his predecessors did before him, he still reigned as a top-three center during the 1990’s, trailing only Hakeem Olajuwon and Shaquille O’Neal. Ewing spent his first 15 years in the Association with the New York Knicks. He earned 11 All-Star appearances during that time and was named All-NBA First Team in 1990. The Ewing-led Knicks reached the Finals in 1999, but ultimately fell to David Robinson and the San Antonio Spurs in five games. 

In 2000 Pat left New York in a trade that sent him to the Seattle Supersonics. Ewing’s spent just one season in Seattle, where he averaged 9.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. During his final year in Orlando Ewing posted just six points and four rebounds per contest. The Hall-of-Famer would announce his retirement on September 18, 2002. Ewing has now shifted his talents to coaching, where he is currently the head coach for the Georgetown Hoyas.

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About Darrien Null

Hometown: Strasburg, PA. Contributor for Sixers Lead.

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