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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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