Forgotten NBA Players: Where Are They Now?

By Michael Rush
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Photo Courtesy: tookapic/Pixabay

Some basketball players have their jersey in every sporting good store on the planet, while others aren't so lucky. They may have one shining moment. but it's not enough to go down in history.

These players had short-lived fame in the NBA and then went on to do different things. Some stayed with the sport working as a coach, and some went on to completely different areas of life. These players were once shining stars, however, and they deserve credit for what they gave to the sport.

Mike Bibby

Arizona native Mike Bibby started out his NBA career with the Vancouver Grizzlies before going on to play for the Sacramento Kings. He was a major factor in the Kings becoming Western Conference contenders.

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Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison/Wikipedia

Since his time in the NBA, Bibby became the head coach for Shadow Mountain High School. Under his guidance, the school’s team won the state title four times. He’s put in some serious effort at the gym in the weight-lifting department as well and now captains a team in the Big3 3-on-3 basketball league called the Ghost Ballers.

Ben Wallace

Playing for the Detroit Pistons, Ben Wallace became a top-notch defensive player. His smaller size made no difference in his ability to defend the hoop. He won the Defensive Player of the Year award four times and was also instrumental in the Pistons beating the Lakers during the NBA finals in the 2003-2004 season.

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Photo Courtesy: Jauerback/Wikipedia

When he retired from basketball, he admitted to suffering from depression. He was arrested twice (once for a DWI and once for leaving the scene of an accident) but has turned around his life and is now the part-owner and president of the Piston's G-League team.

Mehmet Okur

At 6 foot 11 inches, Mehmet Okur preferred to spread the floor, and it was good when he did, because he had a 37.5 percent average shot from outside the three-point-line.

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Photo Courtesy: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Since his time as a player, Okur has worked as an ambassador for the Utah Jazz for two seasons. He was then hired as an assistant coach for the Phoenix Suns but was fired after his first season. He now has stopped his basketball life completely and lives with his family in San Diego.

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Hedo Turkoglu

Hedo Turkoglu, the NBA's first Turkish basketball player, became one of the league's best bench players when he played for the Sacramento Kings. He then went to Orlando and had career highs in points per game (17.5), rebounds per game (6.4) and assists per game (5.5).

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Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison/Wikipedia

He has now returned to work in his home country for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (since 2016). He’s also been in a dispute with Enes Kanter, a current NBA player, because Kanter supports a political leader who is in competition with Erdoğan.

Isaiah Rider Jr.

Isaiah Rider Jr. won the 1994 Dunk Contest, and his natural talent made it seem like he would go far in the NBA. As great of a player as he was, however, his substance abuse led him to a seven-month jail sentence. He’s now a coach for Phoenix Hillcrest Prep.

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The founder of the school’s basketball program, Nick Weaver, stated, "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."

Shawn Kemp

One of the best players of the 90s, Shawn Kemp was similar to Zion Williamson in athletic ability and physicality. He didn't get his name publicized like Charles Barkley or Karl Malone, but he was still one of the most talented players in the game.

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Photo Courtesy: Rocky Widner/Getty Images

However, off the court, Kemp was arrested many times for drug possession. After trying to play in Italy, he retired from the game and now owns a nightclub and lounge in the Seattle area. His son, Shawn Kemp Jr., played at the University of Washington.

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Metta World Peace (Ron Artest)

Metta World Peace (formerly known as Ron Artest) was a great athlete. He went from being a stellar scorer to a great defensive player, and ignoring the 'Malice at the Palace' incident, he had a great career.

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Since his basketball career, he has appeared on reality shows like Big Brother, Figure It Out, Dancing With The Stars and Key and Peele. His son, Ron Artest III, played at Cal-State Northridge. The Artest Management Group is his company and helps athletes build their brand. He also recently became an advocate for mental health.

Alex English

An underrated top scorer, Alex English averaged over twenty-one points per game and was also an eight-time All-Star. As a three-time member of the NBA Second Team, he led them in scoring during the 1983 season.

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Since retiring from basketball, English has had many acting roles. In 1996, he played the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the film Eddie. English has also created and hosted basketball camps for underprivileged kids in many different countries. He now works for the SEC Network as an on-camera basketball analyst.

Yao Ming

Second only to LeBron James, Yao Ming had lots of hype surrounding his entrance into the NBA. At 7 feet 6 inches tall, he became an All-Star eight out of his ten seasons. He proved once and for all that Asian-Americans can play sports as well as anyone.

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He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016 and was elected Chairman of the Chinese Basketball Association. He also participates in charity work for the Special Olympics, the conservation of endangered species and more.

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Antoine Walker

Antoine Walker, a Chicago native, had the talent and ability to score from anywhere on the court. He also made three All-Star teams. However, he had money management problems and wasted away all $108 million that he made from playing ball.

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Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison/Wikipedia

However, as of 2013, he’s been debt-free. He worked for Morgan Stanley for four years in order to educate athletes (both college and professional) on how to manage their money. He also made some TV appearances on sports television shows and radio networks as an analyst.

Mark Price

One of the best players in the entirety of the Cleveland Cavaliers' franchise was Mark Price. Of his four seasons as an All-Star, his best was in 1993. His stats resulted in him becoming an All-NBA First Team selection.

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Since stepping off of the court, Price has been a coach at all levels of the sport, including a Minnesota high school and in Australia. He was then a shooting consultant for different NBA teams before becoming head coach of the Charlotte 49ers, but that only lasted for two years.

Rex Chapman

As a Kentucky native, Chapman was adored by hometown fans at the University of Kentucky. He then went on to a 13-year career in the NBA. Afterward, he worked for several NBA teams as a front office member.

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However, his life went downhill when he was arrested for stealing around $14,000 worth of products from an Apple store. He was caught after he sold the items at a pawn shop. He later went to rehab for a painkiller addiction. He is now clean and helping young adults with the same issues.

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Jason Williams

Known as ‘White Chocolate,’ Jason Williams consistently gave crowds a show despite his small size. He was known to be a wizard with the basketball and had more than stellar passing skills.

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He continued to play basketball until he suffered a knee injury. Today, he lives in Miami and is proudly raising his son Jaxon. The kid already shows promise: A video of him dribbling around defenders went viral. Football fans can expect great things from Jaxon in future years.

Larry Johnson

Having played for both the Charlotte Hornets and the New York Knicks for a total of 10 years, Larry Johnson was truly gifted when it came to rebounds. He made space on the court and had relentless energy that not many players could match.

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After his retirement, James Dolan, the owner of the Knicks, hired Johnson as a business operations representative. It was a nice thing to do for a player that had done so much for the team, but perhaps Dolan will come out of retirement and join the team again.

Vin Baker

One of the league's best power forwards was 6-foot-11 Vin Baker. Most of his career was spent playing for both the Milwaukee Bucks and the Seattle Supersonics. He was a four-time All-Star, but despite his talent on the court, he was not as good with money management.

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He wasted away about $100 million and had an alcohol abuse problem. However, he managed to kick his drinking habits in 2011, and after being demoted to a job at Starbucks, he became a TV analyst for the Bucks. In 2018, he got a job as an assistant coach for the team.

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Oliver Miller

While he was teased for his weight, Oliver Miller was still a great basketball player. However, after his basketball career, he was charged with both first and second-degree assault over an altercation at a barbeque in 2011.

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His sentence was five years in jail, although he only ended up serving one. Once he was released, he moved to Arizona to sell cars. He’s also worked to finally get into better shape and has lost 60 pounds so far.

Penny Hardaway

As a top-10 fringe player, Penny Hardaway was on track to be a great NBA player. However, after being plagued by injuries, he was not able to fully recover. His game never fully recovered, and his career as a player was unfortunately over.

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Hardaway does have a few businesses in his hometown of Memphis. He was also recently hired in 2018 by his alma mater to run their basketball program. He’s already proven himself as an excellent recruiter for the team.

Andrew Bynum

Andrew Bynum’s career was going well. He helped the Los Angeles win two championships in his eight seasons as a player and even made the All-Star team. However, his career was cut short by injuries in 2014.

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He did not stay in the public eye much after that except for when he showed up to Game 4 of the 2016 NBA Finals. However, he’s also taken to the gym on social media to show off his skills, perhaps in the hopes of playing again.

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Eddy Curry

Picked number four overall in the 2001 NBA draft, Windy City native Eddy Curry was welcomed with open arms by basketball fans in Chicago. However, his career was cut short after an irregular heartbeat caused the front office to cut his spot on the team.

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He then played for a few other teams in the NBA before moving to Asia. He now plays with former NBA stars Donte Greene, Josh Powell, Stephen Jackson and C.J. Watson on a Big3 team called the Killer 3s. He also is a father to seven children.

Kwame Brown

When Kwame Brown was picked number one straight out of high school, he already had an endorsement from Michael Jordan, and people had great expectations of him. However, he lacked scoring skills and an ability to defend the rim.

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Though his career in the NBA was kind of a bust, he’s played in the Big3 League ever since he was picked fifth overall in the league’s inaugural season. He is one of the most in-shape players in the league and is commended for sticking with the sport he loves to play.

Delonte West

Delonte West was a star player in college alongside Jameer Nelson and ready to have a great NBA career. He played for the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers and other teams before ending up in China.

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His life sadly went downhill from there. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, he was spotted by a fan wandering around a parking lot in nothing but a hospital gown. He was also arrested after being pulled over with multiple guns in his car. He eventually had to sell his house at half value.

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Zydrunas Ilgauskas

Known as "Big Z", Zydrunas Ilgauskas was adored by Cleveland fans. While not quite as good as Hakeem Olajuwon, he was still a major player on the court. He was on two All-Star teams and was an All-Rookie selection. He also was able to see his number being retired by the Cavalier's franchise.

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After his career, he and his wife adopted two orphan brothers who were also from Lithuania. He became a volunteer assistant coach for a prominent high school and was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the city of Cleveland in 2018.

Darko Milicic

Darko Milicic was picked over Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in the NBA draft. Sadly for the city of Detroit, Darko never managed to score more than 8.8 points per game in a single season (his career average was 6.0 PPG).

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After his NBA career was a bust, he had a brief career as a kickboxer. He then headed back to Serbia and now owns a successful 125-acre farm. He sells cherries and apples to countries all around the world. Although he didn't earn his profits from shooting baskets, he seems to have created a nice life for himself.

Damon Stoudamire

While only 5-foot-10-inches tall, "Mighty Mouse" Damon Stoudamire was a fiery competitor on the court. He played for Toronto for the first three years of his career and averaged 19.7 PPG. Then he played for Portland, and his performance started to go downhill.

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After his retirement, Stoudamire was still not done with the world of basketball. He jumped headfirst into a career as a coach. He first coached at Rice and then was an assistant coach for the University of Memphis, Arizona and the Memphis Grizzlies. He is now head coach at Pacific University and has a combined record of 39-58.

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Bryant Reeves

Of the now-defunct Vancouver Grizzlies franchise, "Big Country" Bryant Reeves was the most notable face of the team. Although he was a bigger guy, he had surprising ball-handling skills. He was never an elite NBA player, but he was loved by both Memphis and Vancouver teams.

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After the NBA, he moved to a small town in Oklahoma called Stillwater. He has a 300-acre cattle ranch, and you are likely to see him in town if you ever visit. He has three kids, and one of them, Trey, is a senior forward on Oklahoma State’s basketball team.

Jerry Stackhouse

Jerry Stackhouse, a bigger guy, was surprisingly great with his footwork. He averaged 29.8 PPG for the Detroit Pistons during the 2000-2001 season. After retiring from playing the game he did a stint as a commentator.

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That ended when he got a job with the Toronto Raptors as an assistant coach and then as head coach for the Raptor's G-League team. He then spent a bit of time as an assistant for the Memphis Grizzlies before becoming Vanderbilt's head coach in April 2019.

Stephon Marbury

Stephon Marbury, aka ‘Starbury,’ was a legend even before attending Georgia Tech. He averaged 19.3 PPG throughout his career but was distracted by issues off the court. Since his career in the NBA, he has spent the last nine years in China, where he is an adored celebrity.

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A statue was built for him, he was put on a stamp and there was even a musical made about his life. He is now an official resident of the country and currently works for the Beijing Royal Fighters as head coach.

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Robert Swift

Robert Swift became a team member of the Seattle SuperSonics when he was picked twelfth overall right out of high school, but he failed to make much of an impact on the game during his four-year NBA career. This was mostly due to drug addiction, and he even served a month in jail as a result.

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Since then, he has eradicated his bad habits and signed with a Spanish basketball team. He also got engaged, so at least this guy got a happy ending. Not everyone is so lucky.

Steve Francis

Steve Francis was an incredible athlete. Very few could check him on the court, as he was a quick and explosive player. He played for seven years, made All-Star appearances three times and even won Rookie of the Year.

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He could have been a Hall of Fame player, but life got in the way. He was hit with severe depression when his stepfather died, and a habit of alcohol abuse soon followed. He has also been arrested quite a few times for different crimes.

Brandon Roy

Brandon Roy did a lot for the Portland Trail Blazers in his prime, and some folks in the area still remember his contributions to the sport. He was an important part of how his team became relevant in the league again.

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However, Roy was plagued with a ton of health issues. He was in and out of the game for years. At one point, he was supposed to come back at full strength, but he never did. Still, he is remembered as a great player and now coaches a high school basketball team.

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