Every February, the NBA holds its annual All-Star Game. The game is an exhibition that showcases the best of the best that the NBA has to offer. Usually there are about 15 shoe-in players that make the All-Star team seemingly every year — athletes like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. Also, there are players who put together one single incredible season, and live out the dream of making the All-Star Game. The 2000s were full of great players, but if you ask some of the old heads, the basketball junkies, they would tell you that the game, as a whole, had been in a slump since the late 1990s. With the skill level being lower than it had been during the ’80s and ’90s, there have been some interesting inclusions in All-Star rosters.
With fall arriving and the winter on its way, it is time to get back in the basketball spirit. What better way to get back into basketball spirit than to bring back memories of the old days. Ready to take a trip down memory lane?
Without further ado lets get into the 15 All-Stars from the 2000s that most likely everyone has already forgotten. In an era with Shaq, Kobe and LeBron, it’s no surprise these guys are afterthoughts.
15. Mehmet Okur
Okur, the 6’11” Turkish big man carved out a solid nine-year career in the NBA. He was known as a big strong interior post player who also possessed the ability to hit a 15 footer. He was a solid player for both the Pistons and the Utah Jazz, spending seven years in Utah. Okur experienced success early in his career. In 2004, he was a reserve for the great Detroit Pistons team. Okur played the role of quality back-up to Defensive Player of the Year, Ben Wallace. After winning the title with the Pistons, Mehmet cashed in on his chance at a big contract. During the 2004 offseason, Okur signed a $50 million contract with the Jazz.
Most people around the league thought the Jazz had slightly overpaid the young big man, but he had the potential to be a star and he was already a champion so the market was high, and Okur struck. During his seven years with the Jazz, Okur was solid, averaging in the high teens in points and just under eight rebounds per game. In 2005, he had his best season, averaging 18 points and 9.1 rebounds, but it was in 2007 when Okur was rewarded with an All-Star appearance. Okur retired in 2012 and is now an assistant coach with the Phoenix Suns.
14. Theo Ratliff
Born Theophalus Curtis Ratliff, Theo was an incredible defensive force during his 16 years in the NBA. Ratliff was a two-time All-NBA Defensive Second Team selection, as well as an NBA All-Star in 2001. At 6’10”, and 235 pounds, Ratliff was incredibly athletic and had an incredible ability to block shots. He even led the league in blocked shots on three occasions. During the 2001 season, Ratliff was part of the Philadelphia 76ers team that made a run all the way to the NBA Finals, eventually losing to the Shaq and Kobe-led Los Angeles Lakers. Theo led the NBA in blocked shots that season, and with him holding down the paint, and Allen Iverson carrying the load offensively, the Sixers were a very formidable NBA team.
Although Ratliff had incredible blocking and rebounding skills, he was the textbook journeyman during his career. Ratliff spent time with nine different franchises, including two separate stints with the Detroit Pistons, and the Philadelphia 76ers.
13. Jrue Holiday
At only 26 years old, it feels like Holiday has been in the NBA forever. Jrue’s career began in 2009 when he was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers out of UCLA. In 2013, Holiday appeared to find his game, recording two triple-doubles before the All-Star break and setting career highs in most meaningful statistical categories. Holiday was selected to the 2013 All-Star game as a reserve, and during that season, he averaged career highs in points, rebounds, and assists. The year 2013 also saw a change in scenery for Holiday as he was traded to New Orleans. Since the trade, Holiday has had a incredibly hard time staying healthy, and staying on the court.
He is still with New Orleans, but he has yet to play a full season with the franchise. In 2013, the sky appeared to be the limit for this young star, but now we just hope he gets his health in check and that he is able to play a complete season again.
12. Chris Kaman
Kaman came into the NBA with high expectations after being the MAC Player of the Year and MAC Tournament MVP. In the exceptional 2003 draft, the Clippers selected Kaman with the sixth overall selection and things were looking up for the downtrodden Clipper organization. However, it would be another decade before the Clips would see true successes. Kaman’s career started very slowly, and many thought he was a complete bust after a few seasons. However, in 2010, Kaman was able to finally start putting things together, and he made his first and only All-Star game. During his All-Star season, Kaman averaged 18.5 points per game to go along with his nine rebounds.
With the league on notice, and Kaman playing at an All-Star level, the Clippers decided to package him in a deal that landed the Clippers Chris Paul. Kaman would go on to have some decent success with the Hornets, but has not been able to stick with any franchise. Since leaving the Clippers, Kaman has played for four different teams.
11. Devin Harris
In 2004, the Dallas Mavericks selected Devin Harris, coming off of his consensus All-American season at Wisconsin, where he was also the Big Ten Player of the Year. The expectations were high for Harris when he arrived in Dallas, and he was able to help as a young player on an already good team. After five years with the Mavericks, Harris was traded to the New Jersey Nets as part of the blockbuster Jason Kidd trade. Harris would become one of the Nets most consistent players during his three years there, including multiple games of 35+ points. In 2009, he had the best season of his career, averaging 21 points, seven assists and almost two steals per game. Harris has always been the type of player that championship teams need.
He did the little things that help a ball club win close games, as well as having the ability to go off for 30 on any given night. Harris is currently back with the Dallas Mavericks recovering from a toe injury that forced him to miss the final 15 games of last season.