Life after the NBA is a tough transition for basketball stars trying to find their way. Most NBA players were big deals in their local communities as sports prodigies. That level of popularity followed them during their younger years and they became legitimate celebrities in their late teen years when joining the NBA. At the point of retirement, you are looking at guys that were world celebrities all of their adult lives and big names in their local communities since childhood. You can only imagine the weird change into being another person in the world. For some, the change isn't the most graceful.
Many former NBA stars refuse to believe their time in the spotlight is done and people no longer hang on their every word. These names range from guys continuing their careers in other leagues to current broadcasters to social media trash talkers. All of the players on this list believe the basketball world is waiting with baited breath to hear all of their hot takes. Sadly for them, they're afterthoughts that have been left behind with the progression of the game leading to new stars. These are fifteen former NBA stars that believe they are still relevant when they really aren’t.
15 Stephen Jackson
Former NBA player Stephen Jackson was regarded as one of the toughest guys in the sport. Jackson now makes his impact as a talking head on various ESPN shows and social media. The recent comments of Jackson saw him trash Kevin Durant for the Golden State Warriors star’s social media antics. Durant was caught using secret social media accounts to defend his choices to critics.
Jackson claimed he lost all respect for Durant and viewed him as no better than the Twitter eggs aka users without a picture. There have been other controversial comments from Jackson in recent months as he clearly believes his opinion is worth taking seriously from the NBA talent. Jackson is trying to resurrect his basketball career in the Big 3 league, but no NBA teams want to sign him based off it.
14 Allen Iverson
Another basketball star trying to regain his former popularity in the Big 3 basketball league is Allen Iverson. The Philadelphia 76ers legend was made the face of the new basketball league this summer in hopes of his presence leading to success. Iverson ended up fooling any fans that still wanted to see him play. Instead of playing the clutch minutes, Iverson only played a handful of minutes per game before coaching from the sidelines.
Part of the reason the Big 3 failed to get any momentum during their inaugural season was that Iverson was no longer a top name. They will need someone like Kobe Bryant or Tracy McGrady to take the risk in joining to get a higher profile. Iverson didn’t push the needle as well as he assumed he would. In fact, Iverson even no-showed a game leading to his remaining fans turning on him.
13 Stephon Marbury
NBA fans forgot about Stephon Marbury about a decade ago when his career came crashing down following an awful tenure with the New York Knicks. Marbury did resurrect his career by becoming a massive star in China. However, things have died down since his rise and his time in the Chinese Basketball Association has come to an end.
The news of Marbury wanting to return to the NBA this season at the age of 40 shocked everyone to read about it. Marbury believes he still has the name value and talent to have a spot in an NBA rotation. That is just wrong as his best days are behind him. Marbury wants to officially end his career in a relevant role in the United States. Unfortunately, his desire has no chance of coming true.
12 Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett was one of the top power forwards of his era when playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets. The big mouth of Garnett added another dynamic to his game as a storied trash talker. TNT hired Garnett to join their broadcasting team on Inside the NBA due to his talking ability.
Unfortunately, his NBA talent did not translate to broadcasting. Garnett has own segments away from the other members of the TNT broadcasting team in a location called Area 21. Fan reaction to the Garnett skits on the show do weaker numbers online compared to Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal. People just don’t care about Garnett following his retirement. The star power of KG was highly overrated as it only followed his basketball talent.
11 Charles Oakley
One of the more bizarre NBA stories earlier this year featured Charles Oakley getting arrested at Madison Square Garden. Drama between Oakley and New York Knicks owner James Dolan led to Oakley getting escorted out of MSG due to cursing. Dolan banned Oakley from attending MSG events over the next year.
While Oakley was in the right against Dolan, his antics following the controversy has shown he thinks he’s still a big deal. Oakley trashed NBA players claiming they “need to wear dresses” due to their behavior. Aside from making sexist comments, Oakley also wanted to get playing time in the Big 3 league. They made him settle into a coaching role due to his older age. The MSG drama just made him start commenting on more topics believing people want to hear him diminish the talent of the current stars.
10 Kenny Smith
Many of the current analysts on television discussing the NBA are still quite famous names. Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal are as famous as ever. Tracy McGrady does a good job representing himself as he transitions into the new role. Kenny Smith is one of the guys that benefits from his surroundings rather than his own name value.
The great spot on TNT’s Inside the NBA allows Kenny to be the forgotten man with Ernie Johnson, Shaq and Barkley. Smith somehow believed he had similar popularity as he developed his own reality show with cameras following his life. The Turner networks put a lot of time and money into promoting the show believing Kenny would bring them success. It did poorly and was cancelled after just one season due to lack of interest.
9 Gary Payton
Legendary point guard Gary Payton could be argued as the best trash talker in the NBA. Payton was one of the best point guards of the 90s and reminded his opponents of it. Many of the comments from Payton during his playing career would get him suspended today. Payton has taken shots at the current NBA stars questioning how good Stephen Curry is and calling other players soft.
The retired legend received a coaching spot in the Big 3 basketball league this past summer. Payton did not play but tried to make the games about him. Cameras would show him yelling at his players or even talking trash to opposing players on the court. Payton clearly believes that he's a big star people want to pay attention to. Unfortunately for him, those days are long gone and he’s a forgotten name.
8 Robert Horry
Robert Horry is known for his clutch shots during his NBA career. The NBA Championship rings with the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs all featured Horry making important shots in late game situations. Horry was relatively quiet for years following retirement until the past year. Multiple media and podcast appearances showed Horry taking shots at some of his former teammates.
Horry was probably the only human on the planet to slight the impact of Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. Popovich was blamed for Derek Fisher hitting a game-winning shot in the playoffs against San Antonio. Duncan was deemed not in the same tier of legend as Hakeem Olajuwon. Horry took Ginobili to task for costing him another ring. All three points showed he was a bit delusional and believed people would take his word over the legends.
7 Deron Williams
One of the once relevant NBA stars to lose his place in the league is Deron Williams. The Cleveland Cavaliers witnessed him falling apart in the NBA Finals with his limited minutes being costly. Williams has been unable to land a job in the NBA this offseason and will likely be out of the league going forward unless someone is extremely desperate.
The new project of Williams has seen him launch a podcast. This isn’t just another basketball podcast as Williams primarily talks mixed martial arts on this. Most NBA fans have no idea this show even exists despite the fact that there have been over five episodes at this point. Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye have a popular podcast that took off right away despite being role players. Williams getting no interest shows his presence.
6 Jalen Rose
The hiring of Jalen Rose by ESPN saw him become entertaining in certain forums when working with friend Bill Simmons. ESPN firing Simmons however exposed Rose as he is far less enjoyable outside of the friend dynamic. Rose thinks his popularity from the ESPN gig has made him a household name by the way he carries himself these days.
The fact that Rose smugly admitted to trying to injure Kobe Bryant in the 2000 NBA Finals showed he still believes people hang on his every word. Everyone clearly knew about this, but Rose felt his admittance was breaking news. There’s also the ridiculous actions of Rose blocking anyone that ever references Kobe Bryant scoring 81 points on him. Rose often talks down to his critics under the guise of him being a star.
5 Karl Malone
NBA legend Karl Malone is one of the few stars to quickly lose his relevance in the mainstream sports world. Malone didn’t have the luster of Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley or Reggie Miller. Unlike his former peers, Malone didn’t move into a broadcasting or ownership position to continue life in the basketball world. You’d assume he wanted to live a quiet life outside of the spotlight.
Despite not being in a relevant position, Malone likes to make his opinions known on topics regarding the NBA and society. NBA players were ripped by Malone for being lazy as he cursed about them needing to get on the court instead of resting for the playoffs. Malone also comments on social issues insulting the black community instead of empowering. All of this may stem from people no longer respecting his opinion while he thinks he’s a big deal.
4 Dennis Rodman
Dennis Rodman never shied away from the controversy. The antics of Rodman made him hated by many NBA players, but his talent always kept him on the court. Rodman was a huge part of the Chicago Bulls 1996-1998 dynasty winning three consecutive NBA Championships. Following his NBA career, Rodman continued being a hot mess. It became less endearing when he wasn’t achieving success in a national sports league.
The presence of Rodman in politics is shocking given he is the last athlete that would represent the example of a model citizen. Rodman became close friends with North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un. For some reason, Rodman has been speaking on behalf of one of the world’s most hated men trying to convince everyone that he is now misunderstood. Dennis is also a friend of United States President Donald Trump. The most delusional example of Rodman believing he is a big deal is he claims he can make peace between the two hated figures.
3 Gilbert Arenas
The short stint of popularity for Gilbert Arenas in the NBA saw him dominate the league for a few seasons with the Washington Wizards. Arenas had everything going for him as he made consecutive All-Star appearances and was loved by Washington fans. It all fell apart when he was suspended for bringing a gun into the locker room and threatening a teammate.
Arenas’ career took a downfall and he ended up out of the league faster than anyone expected. The current life of Gilbert sees him make ridiculous posts on social media insulting numerous stars of today. Arenas recently insulted the WNBA players and made very offensive comments about them. This didn’t even pick up much traction online as he is a forgotten name less relevant than the big names in the WNBA.
2 Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce was one of the top small forwards in the NBA during his peak years on the Boston Celtics. The 2008 NBA Championship run made Pierce a bigger name than ever before but that ended rather quickly. His final few years in the NBA season saw his name value hit a low before retiring. Pierce is now trying his luck in the broadcasting role and it is not going well.
ESPN is hoping to compete with TNT after making a bunch of new hires of former NBA stars. Pierce basically is meant to rival Charles Barkley or Shaquille O’Neal but he doesn’t have that level of popularity. Many NBA players from Jimmy Butler to LeBron James to Brandon Jennings have seen Pierce take shots at them. Pierce sadly is not a relevant name and looks desperate more than anything else these days.
1 Scottie Pippen
The success of Scottie Pippen as the sidekick to Michael Jordan made him a household name in the 90s. That was two decades ago. Pippen lost the majority of his relevance over time and is trying to show he’s still relevant today. ESPN will have Pippen on The Jump every now and then to give his hot takes on the NBA landscape.
Stephen Curry was one of the bigger names called out by Pippen. According to Scottie, Curry isn’t a dominant player despite leading the Golden State Warriors to a 73-win season. Another comment saw Pippen claim Jimmy Butler wasn’t a Superstar after he was traded by the Bulls. Pippen tried to throw him under the bus for leaving the team he works with. Instead of coming off like the wise legend he thinks he is, Pippen now looks like an old man yelling at the kids to get off his lawn.