The life of an NBA star is among the most fascinating in all of sports. Basketball stars get paid the most money and have the highest profile. Athletes have to wear helmets in other sports that prevent their face recognition. Factor in that the NBA actually wants the players to be the stars of the league. The NFL is often criticized for trying to stifle the individualism of the stars in exchange for making the teams and the league itself the most valuable assets. NBA teams rely on their stars being bigger than the actual brand many times as seen with LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and James Harden today.
Unfortunately, not every NBA star will get to live off their riches for the rest of their lives. Most stars do make enough money and save it to live comfortably once their career ends. A small percentage of players do make unfortunate decisions to blow through their money or are forced to leave the league faster than expected. We'll take a look at that side of the story regarding players that had to find a new career. These fifteen former NBA players now work regular jobs like most of us in hopes of paying the bills.
15 Vin Baker - Works As A Pastor
Four-time All-Star Vin Baker had a strong run towards the end of the 90s as one of the best big men in the NBA. Baker unfortunately took a downward spiral when battling alcoholism that ultimately influenced the end of his career. The years after his NBA career ended featured Baker getting help to overcome his addiction and starting a new path.
14 Adrian Dantley - Works As A Crossing Guard
Adrian Dantley is not a memorable name when it comes to the all-time basketball greats. However, Dantley is a Basketball Hall of Famer that scored over 23,000 points throughout his NBA career. Most NBA players want to stay in the spotlight or live quietly off their wealth once their careers come to a close. Dantley went the opposite direction.
13 Bryant Reeves - Operates A Ranch
The life of Bryant Reeves could have been viewed as depressing due to how his NBA career ended. Reeves showed promise during the first four seasons of his career averaging as much as 16 points and eight rebounds per game in back to back seasons. Multiple horrible back injuries limited his career going forward, and he retired after just six seasons with the Vancouver Grizzlies.
12 Mark Blount - Owns Pretzel Franchise
Mark Blount spent nine years in the NBA bouncing from team to team as a role player. The best season of Blount’s career came when he averaged 12.6 points per game for the Boston Celtics until they traded him to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Blount struggled to find a consistent role on a team leading to him leaving the NBA due to lack of interest.
11 Dan Dickau - Owns A Barbershop
Dan Dickau was a first-round draft pick back in 2002 after a strong college career for Gonzaga. The talent of Dickau allowed him one standout season averaging 13.2 points per game for the New Orleans Hornets. Unfortunately, Dickau never averaged more than six points per game any other season. It wasn’t a big surprise when he found his way outside of the NBA after failing to make an impact in his six years.
10 Karl Malone - Works As A Truck Driver
Utah Jazz legend Karl Malone made huge money during his career as arguably the best power forward in NBA history. Malone delivered incredible stats every single season and fell just short of winning an NBA Championship in the NBA Finals due to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls standing in his way. The life after basketball has been rather quiet for Malone.
9 John Stockton - Works As A Basketball Coach
You can’t name Karl Malone without mentioning John Stockton. Both men were linked together throughout their NBA careers as the incredible duo on the Utah Jazz. Stockton was the most unselfish Superstar in the NBA always looking to set up his teammates for easy baskets with Malone the main target. Some competitors like Isiah Thomas and Kenny Smith even stated Stockton’s giving nature made the game easier for them when he passed instead of scoring.
8 LaRue Martin - Work For UPS
LaRue Martin is not remembered fondly for his NBA career. The Portland Trail Blazers selected Martin first overall in the 1972 NBA Draft over Julius Erving, Bob McAdoo and other stars. Martin struggled to ever get any momentum in the NBA and appeared outmatched. After just four seasons in the NBA, Martin decided to retire with an average of just 5.3 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.
7 Charlie Ward - Works As A Football Coach
Charlie Ward is remembered as a Heisman Award winner that chose to go to the NBA rather than continue his football success in the NFL. It turned out to be a good move as Ward had a successful career in the NBA. Many New York Knicks fans remember him fondly for his presence on the late 90s and early 2000s Knicks rosters.
6 Vinnie Johnson - CEO Of A Manufacturing Company
One of the most successful NBA players to make it after retiring is Vinnie Johnson. Most NBA fans remember Johnson for his time on the “Bad Boys” roster of the Detroit Pistons that won back to back NBA Championships. Johnson played over a decade in the league before making the decision to retire in 1992. Life has only improved for him following retirement.
5 Shawn Kemp - Seattle Businessman
It is a shame that Shawn Kemp is not a memorable NBA name unless you were a fan during the 90s. Kemp was must-see during his prime delivering incredible dunks as well as becoming a great power forward. The career high averages of 20.5 points and 11.4 rebounds per game proved Kemp was up there at the best of his position when things were going well.
4 Shandon Anderson - Owns A Restaurant
Utah Jazz role player Shandon Anderson was an important bench asset for the team in the 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals battles against the Chicago Bulls. The majority of Anderson’s career featured him coming off the bench to play strong defense rather than have the spotlight. Anderson actually won an NBA Championship as a member of the Miami Heat in 2006.
3 Brandon Roy - Works As A Basketball Coach
Brandon Roy could have been a Superstar in the NBA for many years, but an injury changed his career forever. Portland Trail Blazers felt they were witnessing something special during Roy’s early years. Opposing teams had fits trying to defend him on his hot nights. The knee injuries kept Roy off the court and made it impossible for him to fulfill his potential as a top tier shooting guard.
2 Detlef Schrempf - Business Development Officer
Detlef Schrempf is remembered for his impressive play in the 90s along with having one of the coolest names in sports. The legend Detlef just grew over the years. Schrempf did achieve great success helping contribute to the Indiana Pacers and Seattle SuperSonics having deep playoff runs. The three All-Star appearances is a huge accomplishment as he played during the highly competitive era in the 90s.
1 Greg Oden - Works For Ohio State
The NBA career of Greg Oden is a depressing tale. One fateful decision saw the Portland Trail Blazers draft Oden with the first overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. Second overall pick Kevin Durant is currently a top three player in the league at worst, and Oden is someone most of you forgot existed. Oden had the size and athleticism, but his injury issues prevented him taking off. The big man only played more than 23 games once in his career.
Oden can no longer play basketball at a professional level due to the foot issues. His college Ohio State hired him to be the student manager for the men’s basketball team. Oden is allowed to attend classes at the school while working there. The hopes are to finish his degree and get a secure career going forward. Until then, Oden helps out the team and lives a humble life after having the world’s worst sports luck.
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