The key to becoming a legitimate Superstar in the NBA is consistency. Talented basketball players all enter the league with the hopes of breaking out to become franchise players. The big money contracts, star power and respectability all comes with the territory. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook are the examples of players delivering outstanding work every season to earn the title of Superstars. Players like Jimmy Butler, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Gordon Hayward are trying to put together the consistency to match their great play. Not everyone can keep such a pace and many of them actually flounder.
There have been quite a few one hit wonders in the world of basketball through the years. We have witnessed these talented players achieve huge success in the NBA for a short time period. Some struggled with injuries impacting their careers in ways they’d never be able to recover from. Others received big contracts that saw them lose their hunger for success. A few just couldn’t keep it up and the league figured them out. We'll look at all of the stories and find out what each of these former stars is up to nowadays. These are fifteen of the most memorable one hit wonders in NBA history and where they are today.
15 John Starks: Knicks Organization & Co-Owner of Shoe Brand Ektio
New York Knicks fans fell in love with John Starks in the mid-90s. His toughness, work ethic and shooting touch made him their top guard for a few years. Starks saw his career high average of 19.0 points per game come during the 1993-1994 season helping the team reach the NBA Finals. The memorable moment of Starks dunking on Michael Jordan became a popular poster in New York.
14 Jeremy Lin: Brooklyn Nets
The rise of Linsanity took over the NBA for a few weeks. Jeremy Lin was a journeyman trying to find a spot in the NBA before his career took off with the New York Knicks out of nowhere. Lin's non-guaranteed contract saw him use his small opportunity to showcase his skills. Lin had an unbelievable run with feats like out-scoring Kobe Bryant to beat the Lakers and hitting a game-winning shot against the Toronto Raptors.
13 Andray Blatche: Xinjiang Flying Tigers, Chinese Basketball League
Andray Blatche was one of the more underrated talents in the NBA and had the potential to be among the top centers. However, his personal issues always held him back from truly ascending to a role he could have secured. Blatche did have a few good seasons with the Washington Wizards, with career high averages of 16.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in 2010-2001.
12 Bonzi Wells: Ice Cube’s 3 on 3 League
Bonzi Wells' talent made him one of the better players for the Portland Trail Blazers in the early 2000s. Wells averaged 17 points in the 2001-2002 season to make Blazers fans believe he was their star of the future, as his ability to score definitely helped Portland remain relevant in the Western Conference for a few years. That ended when his regression started to see him fall off into obscurity.
11 Bobby Simmons: Chicago Nightclub Society & Clothing Store Succezz
Bobby Simmons is the perfect example of a one hit wonder. The forgotten NBA name actually won the Most Improved Player of the Year Award in 2005. Simmons averaged 16.4 points per game for the Los Angeles Clippers that season to become a respected free agent. The Milwaukee Bucks offered him a good contract and unfortunately only received one good season from him.
10 Stromile Swift: Retired
Stromile Swift was selected second overall in the 2000 NBA Draft showing just how promising his talent once was. His athleticism helped him have an impressive second season for the Memphis Grizzlies, as Swift averaged 11.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game in just 26.5 minutes per game and it fooled the Grizzlies into thinking he was a star of the future.
9 Josh Howard: Head Coach of Piedmont International University
The Dallas Mavericks saw Josh Howard become a secondary option on the team as their second best player after Dirk Nowitzki. Howard averaged between 18 and 20 points per game for three consecutive seasons before it all went downhill. One mediocre season in Dallas led to them parting ways with him. Howard would never find another home in the NBA, as he struggled to remain consistent.
8 Jerome James: Free Agent Overseas
It's hard to even call Jerome James a one hit wonder because he never actually had a good season in the NBA. James saw his hit come in the postseason as a member of the Seattle SuperSonics in 2005. The rise of James came out of nowhere to deliver two outstanding series, where he averaged 12.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in clashes against the Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs.
7 Damon Stoudamire: Head Coach of the University of Pacific Tigers
The Toronto Raptors saw Damon Stoudamire average almost 20 points per game during his early NBA career there. Stoudamire looked like a future Superstar before being traded to the Portland Trail Blazers. Sadly, Stoudamire regressed on the better team. Stoudamire still played well for a few more years, but was no longer a budding star. His time in Portland ended poorly and he was not able to find another team that would give him consistent playing time.
6 Jayson Williams: Writing Autobiography
Jayson Williams is one of the more shocking names you’ll find if looking at the history of NBA All-Stars. His rise with the New Jersey Nets featured two highly impressive seasons of averaging 13+ points and 13+ rebounds per game. Williams would see his career fall apart just one year later with a broken leg taking him off the court. The Recovery did not see him progress enough to return to the court and he retired at a young age.
5 Gilbert Arenas: Retired
The best days of Gilbert Arenas’ career was at a level above the rest of the players on this list, but that just made his fall even worse. Arenas signing with the Washington Wizards led to him becoming one of the top stars in the NBA for a few seasons. He had a three season stretch which saw him score between 25 and 30 points per game each season.
4 Bryant Reeves: Owner of Large Cattle Ranch
Bryant Reeves was a high draft pick by the Vancouver Grizzlies and was expected to be a star to lead the new franchise. His first few seasons were great with averages of 16+ points and 7+ rebounds per game in back-to-back seasons. Reeves started to struggle with injuries and weight issues that hurt his career. Chronic back pain would keep Reeves out of games and eventually end his career after just six seasons.
3 Darius Miles: Filed For Bankruptcy
The athletic ability of Darius Miles made him one of the hottest prospects in the NBA during the early portion of his career. Miles was drafted out of high school by the Los Angeles Clippers but struggled to acclimate himself with the NBA landscape. The Portland Trail Blazers eventually got the best out of Miles with a few impressive seasons showing his scoring ability.
2 Andrew Bynum: Retired
The Los Angeles Lakers drafted Andrew Bynum out of high school with the hopes of him maturing into the center of the future after Shaquille O’Neal was traded years prior. Bynum had superb talent that eventually saw him reach his potential for one season, averaging just a shade under 19 points and 12 rebounds per game. Injury issues always haunted him and that caused the Lakers to trade him at the right time.
1 Brandon Roy: Coach of Nathan Hale High School
Brandon Roy’s career is absolutely depressing when you think about what could have been. Roy’s one hit wonder status is not his fault at all, but rather the bad luck of injuries. The Portland Trail Blazers appeared to have the new face of their franchise with Roy putting up amazing numbers. Roy averaged 21+ points in two consecutive seasons before it all fell apart.
Various knee injuries caused his play to decline and he was never the same. Roy dealt with the injuries from his college days and it ended his NBA career prematurely. His post-NBA life sees him finding a new basketball career path in Portland. Roy coaches the Nathan Hale High School’s basketball team in an attempt to pass along his knowledge and passion of the game.
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