11 NBA Franchise Stars You Forgot Played for Other Teams
Fans tend to gloss over the careers of their favorite players, only remembering certain details. In the eyes of many fans, Michael Jordan never had a bad game or missed a shot at the buzzer. This also applies to the less exciting moments of player’s careers, including the teams players represented before or after they became famously associated with other franchises. Looking back at players who are now out of the spotlight, here are 11 NBA franchise stars you probably forgot played for other teams.
1. Tim Hardaway
Everyone remembers Tim Hardaway for his “Run TMC” days with the Golden State Warriors in the early ’90s as well as his run with Alonzo Mourning, Pat Riley, and the Miami Heat in the late ’90s. But in 2001, when Hardaway was 35 years old and his skills began to decline, the Heat dealt him to the Dallas Mavericks for a second-round draft pick.
He played the majority of the season with the Mavs before being moved to the Denver Nuggets. Hardaway finished the season averaging 9.6 points in 23.5 minutes, shooting just 36.5% from the field. The following years, he played 10 more unremarkable games for the Indiana Pacers before retiring.
2. Patrick Ewing
Patrick Ewing spent the vast majority of his career becoming a New York legend with the Knicks, as he helped lead the team to the 1994 NBA Finals. But at 37 years old, with just one year remaining on his contract, the Knicks moved Ewing to the Seattle SuperSonics in a major deal. He played one year as the starting center for the Sonics before signing with the Orlando Magic to be a backup center for the final year of his career. In his last two seasons in the NBA, Ewing averaged just eight points, 5.9 rebounds, and 20.9 minutes per game in Sonics and Magic uniforms.
3. John Starks
Like Ewing, John Starks is best remembered for his time with the Knicks. He averaged 14.1 points over the course of eight seasons in New York before playing for the Golden State Warriors and then finishing his career with a couple seasons alongside Karl Malone and John Stockton in Utah. But people often forget about Starks’ short stop with the Chicago Bulls, playing in four games with the franchise that is most accurately described as his arch-nemesis. Starks came off the bench and averaged 7.5 points on 32.4% shooting for the Bulls before he was finally released.
4. Dominique Wilkins
Dominique Wilkins had a Hall of Fame career with the Atlanta Hawks in the ’80s and ’90s, averaging 26.4 points in 36.9 minutes per game over the course of 12 seasons in Atlanta. However, in the middle of the 1993–94 season, the Hawks traded Wilkins to the Los Angeles Clippers, where he finished his season before moving on to sign with the Boston Celtics the next year as a 35-year-old. Wilkins played a few more seasons overseas and returned to the NBA to spend some time with the San Antonio Spurs and finally the Orlando Magic, where he averaged five points in 9.3 minutes per game in 1998–99.
5. Allen Iverson
Everyone associates Allen Iverson with the Philadelphia 76ers, despite the fact that he did play for other franchises during his career. Iverson started with the Sixers and was actually able to finish his career there as well, playing in 25 games and averaging 13.9 points in his final year (2009–10). But most won’t remember Allen Iverson, the Memphis Grizzly. He originally signed with the Grizzlies in his final season in the NBA, getting into three games and averaging 12.3 points in 22.3 minutes before being waived and signing with Philadelphia.
6. Rasheed Wallace
Rasheed Wallace played with several teams over the course of his career, being best remembered for his long run with the Portland Trail Blazers and Detroit Pistons, and then two short stints at the end with the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks. But do you recall that he played for the Atlanta Hawks? He did — albeit briefly. In 2004, just prior to the trade deadline, the Blazers traded him to the Hawks for Shareef Abdul-Rahim and Theo Ratliff, and ‘Sheed suited up and played in one game, scoring 20 points. The Hawks turned around and traded him just 10 days later to the Pistons, where he ended up being a part of a championship team that season.
7. Robert Parish
Robert Parish began his playing career in the late ’70s with the Golden State Warriors before moving on to the Boston Celtics, where he had a Hall of Fame career. He stayed with the Celtics all the way through the 1993–94 season at the age of 40, averaging 18.8 points and 11.4 rebounds in a Boston uniform. But he still played in three more seasons, two with the Charlotte Hornets and his final year with the Chicago Bulls, collecting his fourth and final championship ring at the age of 43 in 1996–97. He averaged 3.7 points in 9.4 minutes per game that year for Chicago.
8. Shawn Kemp
Shawn Kemp played the majority and best years of his career with the Sonics, averaging 16.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 52.1% shooting from 1990–1997 and helping lead the team to the NBA Finals in 1995–96. But the Sonics moved him to the Cleveland Cavaliers, where his weight rose and his averages fell. He played two years there and two years with the Portland Trail Blazers before finishing with one final season with the Orlando Magic — playing in just 20.7 minutes while averaging only 6.8 points per game at 33 years old before being forced to retire from the NBA.
9. Dennis Rodman
Dennis Rodman had a successful career for a guy who had limited offensive skills, winning five NBA championships between his time with the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls. Following the breakup of the Bulls, Rodman signed in the middle of the 1998–99 season to try to get the Los Angeles Lakers over the hump. But he wore out his welcome quickly, being released by the Lakers and finishing the season as a free agent. But many don’t remember that the Dallas Mavericks also took a shot on Rodman the following year — playing in 12 games and averaging 2.8 points and 14.3 rebounds before ending up rubbing people the wrong way and being released yet again.
10. Tracy McGrady
Tracy McGrady was originally drafted out of high school by the Toronto Raptors and is best known for his time with the Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets. Knee injuries took a toll on his career, and he spent some time with Atlanta Hawks as a reserve in 2011–12. But most don’t recall this part of his career. Despite not playing any NBA games in the 2012–13 regular season, McGrady made one final run of it with the San Antonio Spurs in the postseason. The 33-year-old got into six games, playing 5.2 minutes per game and not recording any points.
11. Hakeem Olajuwon
Hakeem Olajuwon is arguably the second-best player of the ’90s, coming in behind Michael Jordan. He led the Houston Rockets to back-to-back NBA titles in 1994 and 1995 and played 17 years overall with the Rockets, averaging 22.5 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks per game. But Olajuwon wasn’t done playing when the Rockets decided it was time to move on and rebuild, so they traded the future Hall of Fame center to the Toronto Raptors for a couple of draft picks. Olajuwon played just one more season in Toronto — averaging 7.1 points and 6.0 rebounds in just 22.6 minutes per game — before retiring at 39 years old.
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