You know, there’s more than one basketball league around the world than just the NBA. Yes, and in fact, many NBA players after their time is done in the NBA, decide to head to play for another league. Now, the NBA probably has the most competition out of any basketball league, so a lot of these players end up playing for other leagues for less competition, but also that way they continue to play basketball. Some players may be too old to play in the NBA, but can still ball out in another league. Other players’ NBA careers maybe end a little too early, so they decide that they want to continue playing basketball elsewhere, where they can still make a great living.
While some of these players were stars in the NBA, once they left, they lost a lot of their popularity. As the NBA is the only real basketball league that’s relevant in the USA, many basketball fans don’t even know how some of their favorite players are performing in other leagues. And a big part of why they don’t, is because most of the other leagues these stars play for are an entire ocean over. Get ready to find out where some of your favorite stars are playing.
15. Jimmer Fredette – Shanghai Sharks
Jimmer Fredette’s career didn’t last real long in the NBA, and that’s maybe why he chose not to give up on basketball after his time in the NBA was done. Fredette played for the Kings, Bulls, Pelicans and Knicks, throughout his short career as a shooting guard. For a short period, Fredette was the king of the Kings, starting up what was “Jimmermania.” Eventually, his time in Sacramento came to a close as the Kings bought out his contract, which led to the downfall of his NBA career.
After his NBA days were up, he decided to play overseas for the Shanghai Sharks, as part of the Chinese Basketball Association. For the Sharks, he’s currently averaging about 40 points a game, which is an absolute insane number. Things are looking bright for Fredette, who’s now a star on the court, living in a beautiful city.
14. Andray Blatche – Xinjiang Flying Tigers
Unlike some athletes who change to different leagues, Andray Blatche actually played quite some time in the NBA. The power forward’s career in the NBA lasted nine years, playing most of his career with the Washington Wizards, and then moving over to the Brooklyn Nets. Blatche had talent, but was considered being a problem in the locker room. Unfortunately, Blatche’s skill level wasn’t good enough to overlook his issues, which led to him being released from the Wizards. Blatche had a good run with the Nets, until he decided to opt out of his contract, which is when he went to play in the Chinese league.
When he went over to play the Flying Tigers, he was dominating. In his first season, he averaged about 31.1 points a game and 14.6 rebounds. It seemed that his decision to play in China and end his NBA career was a good choice.
13. Jason Thompson – Fenerbahce Dogus
Jason Thompson was supposed to be one of the stars of the 2008 NBA Draft. He was selected 12th overall during that draft, by the Sacramento Kings. The center lasted quite a while in the NBA, playing for the Kings, Warriors and even the Raptors. Eventually when Thompson got older and was traded to the Warriors, everything started to go downhill for him.
Since 2015, he has switched teams each year. The first league he played in after the NBA actually wasn’t the EuroLeague. At first, he played in the Chinese league with the Shandong Golden Stars. He spent one season with them, before leaving to head to Turkey to continue his career. His numbers have slipped since playing in the NBA, as he currently averages about 4.1 rebounds per game and 5.4 points per game.
12. DeJuan Blair – Los Angeles D-Fenders
Unfortunately for DeJuan Blair, his injuries were a concern to many teams when he entered the NBA. As a power forward, Blair never really had a body meant for the game. Many people claimed that he had the body type of a middle linebacker, not a power forward. He is currently playing on his 7th team of his career, that started in 2009. He has played in several different leagues including the NBA, CBA, the NBA Development League, and now currently the G League.
The team he currently plays for is affiliated with the Los Angeles Lakers, but is currently in a lower league, even lower than the D League. Blair’s career was what some may consider a failure, and has tried playing for multiple other organizations in hopes of reviving his career.
11. Carlos Arroyo – Cariduros de Fajardo
The point guard has been all over the place, in many different leagues. Carlos Arroyo has played in the United States, Puerto Rico, Spain and Turkey. Arroyo spent most of his career in the NBA as a third stringer, which made it a no brainer to go play overseas, where he could possibly make more money, as well as have a chance to play as a starter. And that is exactly what happened. In 2008, he signed with the powerful Maccabi team in the Israeli League. That season, he helped take them to the championship where they won it all, and he won MVP of the league finals. After that season, he tried making an attempt to come back to the NBA, which lasted a short two years. Arroyo then left the NBA, and maintained a career playing in different countries. He’s now in his native Puerto Rico with the Cariduros de Fajardo.
10. Mike Bibby – Big3
The former point guard of the Sacramento Kings, Mike Bibby, decided to join the newly made basketball league formed by Ice Cube, the Big3. Bibby was dominant at the beginning of his career, which led him to signing a huge seven-year deal, worth $80.5 million. Eventually the Kings were struggling, and it seemed time to rebuild. The Kings traded Bibby to the Atlanta Hawks, and got quite a few players back in return. Throughout his NBA career, he averaged 14.7 points per game 5.5 assists per game.
When Ice Cube opened this league up, Bibby hopped on board. Bibby at one point was leading the Big3 in four point shots made, being known as one of the best players to play in the Big3.
9. J.J. Hickson – Jiangsu Tongxi
The Cleveland Cavaliers truly tried to build a team around LeBron James when he was younger, and drafting J.J. Hickson was part of trying to make that happen. In college, he was selected to the All-Freshman Team in the ACC. Hickson never really had that great of a season until his last season in Cleveland, when he averaged 13.8 points per game. Eventually Hickson started dealing with injuries and dealing with drug issues, and his career in the NBA just spiraled downhill.
Hickson took his talents over to China, where he currently plays for the Jiangsu Tongxi. The team just joined the league recently in, and Hickson decided to join them at the right time to make history. Hickson is currently trying to prove that he can at least play ball in the CBA.
8. Rudy Fernandez – Real Madrid
This situation is a bit different, as Rudy Fernandez actually started his career playing basketball in Europe. Throughout his six-year span in Europe, he was a dominant threat, so much that he was drafted into the NBA. Fernandez was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers, as he was promised an important spot on the team. As he was playing in the NBA, he would play for the Spanish national team for the Summer Olympics in 2008.
Eventually he began to suffer injuries and was not succeeding the way he thought he would, so he decided that in his best interest, it would make sense to head back and play overseas. Since 2012, he has played for Real Madrid, continuing to succeed, including winning a EuroLeague and Spanish League Championship.
7. Chauncey Billups – Big3
Even some of the best college basketball players eventually make their way to other leagues. The former third overall draft pick of the 1997 NBA Draft, Chauncey Billups, made his way to the Big3. Billups played all over the place in the NBA, playing for a total of eight different teams. He was most known for his time with the Detroit Pistons and Denver Nuggets. Billups made five All Star appearances throughout his career, and even won a NBA Finals with the Detroit Pistons back in 2004.
With the way Billups All Star career went, it was a no brainer for Ice Cube and the Big3 to try and bring him in to play in the new league. Billups was ballin’ in the NBA, and now it’s time for him to ball in the Big3.
6. Jeremy Evans – Erie Bayhawks
You may not know of Jeremy Evans, unless you follow the Slam Dunk contests that happen during All Star Weekend. One of his most popular dunks came when he dunked over a painting that he painted, which was a picture of himself. He even won the Slam Dunk Contest in 2012, when he dunked two basketballs over Gordon Hayward. In 2016, Evans suffered a crucial injury that ended the rest of his season, and practically the rest of his NBA career. He ended up playing basketball in Russia during the 2016-2017 season for BC Khimki. He was signed at the beginning of this season by the Atlanta Hawks, which later released him during roster cuts. But he didn’t completely leave the organization, as they G League team he currently plays for, is owned by the Atlanta Hawks.
5. MarShon Brooks – Jiangsu Dragons
Now we have another former NBA player who currently plays for the Chinese Basketball Association, in shooting guard MarShon Brooks. Brooks was originally drafted by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft, but was then traded to the Brooklyn Nets before the season could even start. Brooks was expected to be one of the young stars, achieving many great milestones at a young age.
He then turned into a throwaway player that got traded around the NBA, which eventually led him to leaving the league altogether. He took the road of many other former NBA players, heading to the CBA. The CBA seems to be a pretty good backup plan for players with some talent, who just can’t hang in the NBA.
4. Charles Oakley – Big3
One of the best New York Knicks players in history, Charles Oakley, decided to help jump start the brand new Big3 League, both playing and coaching the game. Looking back at his career as a power forward, many consider him to be one of the best rebounders the game has ever seen. Oakley currently ranks 18th all time in NBA history, in games played. Oakley did have recent issues that caused him to be arrested at Madison Square Garden, which helped lead to the excitement of being able to see him back on the court again. It seems that many Big3 players are going to struggle scoring against of the best defensive players we have ever seen.
3. Stephon Marbury
Stephon Marbury took himself and the Marbury shoes over to China. Marbury was a fan favorite in New York for some time, but unfortunately was never able to bring New York the championship that they deserved. Marbury was constantly involved in drama, including Marbury blackmailing their coach.
Eventually his career came to an end, and he went to play in the CBA. Fans of the CBA consider Marbury to be the best foreign player to ever play in China. He’s revered over there and has even gotten a museum built in his honor. This past year, he announced that he would be retiring from the Beijing Fly Dragons. After making his announcement, he claimed that he will be trying to make a return to the NBA, or playing for another league like the Big3.
2. Larry Hughes – Big3
Why not add some more stars to the list? Larry Hughes is one of the other former NBA players to join the new basketball league, the Big 3. The former small forward played for 8 teams throughout his 14-year career in the NBA. Hughes’ numbers were kind of all over the place, which is part of the reason why he was constantly bouncing from team to team. His best season came in 1999-00 when he played for the Golden State Warriors, when he averaged 22.7 points per game, and 5.9 rebounds per game.
Unfortunately, Hughes wasn’t one of the big stars that gets another chance with his original team to end his career, as his basketball career kind of just eventually died out. But he joined the Big3, and hopes to become relevant once again.
1. Allen Iverson – Big3
The legend from Philadelphia, Allen Iverson, is a huge part as to why the Big3 is as big as it is. In order for Ice Cube to truly be successful with this new league of his, he really needed players that were fan favorites to draw immediate interest. What better way to add some attention to this league, besides having one of the best guards in NBA history be the star player? Iverson never got lucky with a good enough team to win a championship; the closest he ever came was in 2001. Even when Iverson played at his absolute best, it wasn’t enough for the 76ers to win it all.
Iverson now gets to try and bring a championship home while playing in the Big3. Iverson has been used to help promote the league, and even encourage other former NBA legends to join and help grow the Big3.
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