In the NBA: The Old Boys
With the NBA season set to start in little less than a month, the players are donning their jerseys and mentally preparing themselves for a grueling season; 82 games and even more if the team qualifies for the postseason and a shot at winning the Larry O’Brien Trophy. For some players, it’s another year of fiery competition and for others, an exciting beginning in the most competitive basketball league in the world.
For seven players, retirement is now a reality they have to cope with; one that most former professional athletes struggle to do so. In honour of the seven players who retired after the 2014-’15 season, this edition of “In the NBA” will outline three of the most notable players planning on retiring this season.
1. Shawn Marion: One of the most underrated players of the 00’s, Shawn “The Matrix” Marion was known for being one of the most versatile defenders in the NBA. He was able to guard multiple players and was also known as the master of the most peculiar jump-shot the NBA had ever seen, which turned out to be surprisingly effective.
Marion has been in the league for 18 NBA seasons and has played for Phoenix, Miami, Toronto, Dallas, and Cleveland, later being heralded as one of the best players to come out of college in 1999. Marion had a decorated career with three NBA All-star selections in addition to a championship with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011 and two All-NBA selections.
2. Jason Richardson: “J-Rich” is arguably one of the best dunkers to ever grace the hardwood. After winning a NCAA title with the Michigan State Warriors, he ended up getting drafted by the Golden State Warriors in 2001 with the 5th overall pick, where he quickly became a fan favorite because of his clutch long range shooting and electrifying dunks. Richardson was a 15-year NBA veteran, playing for six NBA squads including Golden State, Charlotte, Phoenix, Orlando, Philadelphia, and Atlanta (although he never laced up for any games in Atlanta).
Career accolades of Richardson include being a two-time NBA Slam Dunk champion, winning the title in 2002 and 2003, being the Rookie Challenge MVP in 2002 and making the All-Rookie First Team in the same season.
3. Elton Brand: “E.B.” was an underrated and gifted specimen who used his physical gift to dominate the post. Brand was an uber-athletic, 6’9” power forward with a huge wingspan and overpowering strength that allowed him to take over the post both on offense and defense.
As a part of the impressive 1999 draft class that hailed eight other future all-stars, Brand was drafted 1st overall. He lived up to the expectations, averaging respectable numbers even at the tail end of his career. Brand has accomplished quite a bit through his NBA career, including two NBA All-star selections, one All-NBA selection, making the All-Rookie First Team, and winning Co-Rookie of the Year in 2000.