How many times have you watched the NBA on television and notice a veteran old star hop up off the bench during a timeout?
Juwan Howard is a prime example of this as he played until he was 39 years old, long after he was still able to walk, let alone run up and down the court every night. He went unnoticed until the Miami Heat signed LeBron James and started winning playoff games. He stuck it out long enough to earn two NBA Championship rings before retiring a year after their last one.
Dikembe Mutumbo, Kevin Willis, and Karl Malone are more examples of players that continued to play long after their 39th birthday.
But what about the players that we didn't even notice were retired? The ones that we automatically assumed were still playing for someone like Minnesota or Dallas but did not realize they had retired two seasons earlier. That is what we put together for you today. Here are the 15 NBA Players You Didn't Realize Are Retired.
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15 Willie Green
Some players have a better understanding of time and they know when theirs is up. Willie Green is one of those types of players, sort of.
He was very adamant about never giving up on his playing career and even spoke to the Orlando Sentinel in April of 2015 about it. He told them, "I definitely want to keep playing. I feel like I still have a good maybe three or four years."
Apparently, he did not and shortly after that interview, he retired from the NBA, almost in secret as no one knew about it until the Golden State Warriors announced that they hired him to their coaching staff this past July.
As of today, he has still never officially announced his retirement from the game.
14 Luke Ridnour
The 2003 NBA Draft was memorable for a few reasons. 2003 was the year the Cleveland Cavs drafted LeBron James with the first overall pick, forever changing the history of the franchise. Then went Darko Milicic, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade making it the best top five picks in NBA Draft history.
It was also the year that the Seattle Supersonics drafted Luke Ridnour, the sharpshooting Point Guard from Oregon. It was a good pick and he went on to be the team's starting PG for the next few seasons before going to Milwaukee, Minnesota, Charlotte, and Orlando.
Over the course of his 12-year career, Luke started 493 games while averaging just under 10 points and 4.5 assists per game. After spending a year out of the NBA, he showed up last June and announced his retirement. He plans on coaching youth basketball now.
13 Stephen Jackson
During his first season in Indiana, Stephen Jackson had the unfortunate privilege of being in Detroit on November 19, 2004. That was the night of the Pacers-Pistons brawl at The Palace of Auburn Hills that ended up being one of the scariest moments in NBA history.
The brawl officially began when Ben Wallace shoved Ron Artest but it had been heating up the entire night. It was quickly broken up and, with under a minute to go, both teams were sent back to their benches while the referees got control of the situation. However, while Ron Artest was staying calm and laying on the scorer's table, a fan threw a drink at him and he snapped. He ran into the crowd, attacking the fan. Stephen Jackson was right behind him.
Stephen landed a punch on a fan and it cost him 30 games that season. He went on to improve his game and get a 20 points per game scoring average but he was always remembered for his actions that night. He retired in July of 2015.
12 Elton Brand
After 17 seasons in the NBA, Elton Brand, one of the league's hardest working power forwards, announced his retirement on October 20, 2016.
At Duke, he left for the NBA after just two seasons with Coach Mike Krzyzewski becoming one of the first players he coached to declare for the draft before his senior season. He went on to play for Chicago before landing in LA and spending the most time of his career with the Clippers. After seven seasons in LA, he went to Philadelphia for five, and then started to move around. He was in Dallas, Atlanta, and finally, he returned to Philly last year.
He has slowly been moving out and over the past four seasons, he has only started in 38 games. His job changed with his age but he never complained. He is the type of guy that would nod his head and do his job before worrying about himself.
11 Daniel Gibson
Daniel Gibson is a guy that everyone knows about but no one knows where he is today. That's because he played with LeBron James when he was still with Cleveland the first time. The two became good friends and it showed each and every night they laced up together. After only two years without King James around, Daniel Gibson called it quits.
He was always a good, not great, role player with a dangerous outside shot. He could come into a game and immediately change the momentum with his range. But he was best when his buddy was out there feeding him the ball.
Nothing against Daniel but if you look at his numbers with LeBron on the court vs. off the court, you would see the difference and agree.
10 Eddy Curry
Before the 2001 NBA Draft, Eddy Curry was thought of as one of the best high school prospects in the history of Illinois basketball. He was a dominant big man in high school and the Chicago Bulls agreed with the scouts and drafted him with the fourth overall pick that year.
For some reason, it took Eddy Curry between three to four seasons to adjust to the NBA game and by his final year in Chicago, he was averaging 16.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks per game. He was then traded to New York where he had one good year before heading back down to the cellar.
After the 2007-08 season, Eddy spent most of his time injured and on the bench having only played in 26 games over his final four years. No one realized he had retired because no one even knew he was still around in 2013.
9 Andrei Kirilenko
During his entire 13-year career, Andrei Kirilenko battled injuries all over his body causing him to miss games in all but one of his NBA seasons, his rookie year.
During the 2004-05 season, he broke his right wrist. He then spent a the rest of his time in Utah slowly losing minutes to other younger, newer players that the Jazz were signing to get them to the next level. All it did was turn him into a role player and he wasn't thrilled about it so by 2011, the Jazz released him and he headed back to Russia to play for one year.
The Minnesota Timberwolves signed him for the 2012-13 season where he would play most of the season but still missed 18 games from various leg injuries and back spasms. The following year, he signed with Brooklyn and remained there for two seasons before being traded to Philadelphia, where he did not want to play.
Andrei Kirilenko had so much potential and was one of the most athletic big men that the sport had ever seen.
8 Kenyon Martin
After spending four years in New Jersey and seven in Denver, Kenyon Martin began bouncing around the league and in the final four seasons of his career, he played for the Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, and Milwaukee Bucks.
During those final few years, he only managed to start 26 of the 103 games he played. But before he rode off into the sunset, he was an athletic monster that could jump through the roof and was already 6'9" making him a dangerous Power Forward. He still managed to play for 15 years despite battling knee tendinitis for most of his career.
Now that he is retired, he is moving on to the next phase of his life and is planning on coaching and preparing his son, Kenyon Jr., to be the top pick in the NBA Draft in the next few years.
7 Hedo Turkoglu
When a NBA player finally has their breakout season, the rest of the league takes notice. But when they do it two years in a row, GM's pick up their phones and start making calls. That was the case for Hedo Turkoglu. Following his best two seasons in Orlando, 2007-2009, and he was traded to Toronto in a four-team trade that also sent eight other players to three other cities.
After just one year in Toronto, Hedo was sent to Phoenix, where he would play in 25 games before being traded back to the place he called home, Orlando.
Hedo was never a dominating star but he was a scary outside scoring big man that could get hot on any night and torch any team in the matter of minutes. However, he started to slow down and ended up signing with the Clippers for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons before calling it a career.
6 Larry Sanders
There is always more to the story than just what you see on television.
Larry Sanders was 26-years old when he walked away from the NBA without an real explanation. There were rumors about his drug violations and suspensions being the cause but that couldn't have been further from the truth after he released a video explaining why he left the NBA.
He had personal reasons for leaving that stemmed from his anxiety, depression, and mood disorders that he has dealt with for most of his basketball life. He was not happy anymore and he kept getting hurt or suspended. The game was not what it should have been and he walked away.
He had the potential to become an All-Star forward and showed off his improvements during his third season when he started to play more minutes.
5 Mo Williams
For the past few months, Mo Williams has been struggling with whether or not he should play this season. He even went to social media, in mid-September, to reveal he was coming back for another season only to change his mind a week or so later and officially announce he was retiring.
The Cleveland Cavaliers had no idea of his decision ahead of time so when they released their training camp roster, the same day he said he would retire, Mo was still on the players list.
The University of Alabama guard was one of those players that was never the leading man but was always a supporting character. He worked best on a team with other stars. His two best seasons of his career were in final two in Milwaukee when he played alongside Michael Redd, Andrew Bogut, and Desmond Mason.
4 Jason Richardson
After having to deal with the pain of bone spurs in his right knee, Jason Richardson decided to retire from the NBA before he ended up struggling with them in his left knee too. His announcement was actually a surprise after he signed with the Atlanta Hawks in August of 2015.
Besides being a great scorer and outside shooter, J-Rich was best known for being an amazing dunker. He even won the 2002 and 2003 Slam Dunk Contest during NBA All-Star weekend. But he wasn't just a great dunker then, he did it all the time including during games. It was then that he would embarrass unsuspecting defenders with a windmill or 360 degree dunk.
He managed to fade off into the sunset without much notice by anyone. The 35-year old could have continued playing if he had better knees.
3 Amar'e Stoudemire
The summer of 2016 has turned into the ending of a pretty big chapter in NBA's history. It was the year that Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, and Tim Duncan retired. Three NBA legends all left the sport they have played since the mid '90s. Another name that appeared on the NBA retirement list this year was Amar'e Stoudemire.
Amar'e Stoudemire dealt with plenty of issues with his knees over the past few years that might have forced his retirement to happen this year but before that, he was a monster in Phoenix where he was averaging 21.4 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game.
He turns 34 years old in November and must have realized it was time to let go. Most of us expected him to make an Ali like return to the court once his knees healed up but instead, we get a retirement announcement.
2 Darko Milicic
The Detroit Pistons will forever be known for making one of the worst NBA Draft day decisions after they wasted their 2003 Lottery pick on Serbian big man, Darko Milicic. They drafted him over Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Davis West, and Josh Howard.
He sounded like a great investment in 2003 but it didn't take the Pistons very long to see that they bought a lemon.
Darko went on to be a sub-par 7'0" center with career per game averages of 6.0 points and 4.2 rebounds. He spent the next 10 seasons bouncing around six different teams until he finally retired before the 2013-14 season, and no one seemed to notice.
He is now starting the next chapter of his life, kickboxing. (Does this guy know how much we loved to make fun of him? Now he is going to be a kickboxer?)
1 Landry Fields
At only 28-years old, this is the top shocker on the list because just a few seasons ago, Landry Fields was playing with the New York Knicks and was becoming one of the top free agents heading into the 2012-13 season. He was so important that the Toronto Raptors signed him to a three-year deal worth $19 million. The contract was spread out evenly so he would earn $6.25 million per season.
That isn't the kind of money you spend on a bench warmer. The Raptors signed him with the intent to turn him into a big part of their winning formula but he injured his shooting arm and it never got fully healed. His excellent outside shot was no longer at NBA level so he spent last year out of the league before retiring this past September.
But it did not take long for the Stanford graduate to find work. The San Antonio Spurs hired him as a college scout. Not only is this a great hire for the Spurs organization, it is a good move for Landry. It will not be long before he begins coaching.
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