The NBA is the largest platform for basketball players to flaunt their style, show their moves, and dominate in a game they excel at. We see great players like LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and James Harden and many more dominate on the court and are easily recognized anywhere, but would you recognize older stars who have not played a minute on the court since their retirement? Basketball, a sport where you can actually see the faces of players and see their true athleticism, is unlike most sports. Football, hockey, and baseball are guarded by a helmet protecting their face from view. Many stars and players after retirement change the way they live because they now are older, have money, and are not as active.
Today, we will be going through 15 NBA players who have progressed through life, changing the way they look purposefully or involuntarily after their successful years in the league. These players have either gotten older, gained weight, or have suffered from disease or addiction that made them look significantly different from when they were in the NBA. Athletes after retirement tend to let themselves go and are not as stringent on their routine and diet as when they were playing - leaving some nearly unrecognizable. We will see players who have had a short burst of fame in the league and some who will go down as some of the greatest athletes ever - some even getting into the Basketball Hall of fame. Here are 15 Unrecognizable Pictures Of Former NBA Stars That Will Shock You.
15 Steve Francis
Born Steve D'shawn Francis aka "The Franchise", he was an exciting and flashy point guard. Francis went 2nd overall in the 1999 NBA Draft, and then won the rookie of the year. Francis played for 4 teams in total including the New York Knicks, the Orlando Magic, the Houston Rockets and the Beijing Ducks of the Chinese Basketball Association. Francis would only player for 11 years, stopping his career after not even averaging 1 point on his team in China.
Francis' life would go on a lot of ups and downs after his absence from basketball. On November 20th, 2016, Francis would be arrested in Houston, TX after being pulled over with almost 22 grams of weed in his car and a bottle of Crown Royale. Francis would be charged with drunk driving and possession of marijuana. As you can tell after his retirement from the ball life Francis would go through stressful events that he only brought upon himself, which is why he looks angry, exhausted, and just down right fed up in recent photos.
14 Mark Jackson
Mark Jackson, once an elite point guard in the NBA for an amazing 17 years from 1987 to 2004, playing for an array of teams (7 to be exact) from the New York Knicks to the Los Angeles Clippers. Is now an analyst for ESPN who recently has signed a multiyear contract. Mark Jackson was a 1x NBA All Star, the 1997 NBA assist leader, and lastly winning rookie of the year in 1988. He was a bright star, and one of his most greatest accomplishments would be making it to the playoffs 13 out of the 17 years he was in the league. After retirement Jackson would be hired as the Golden State Warriors head coach in 2011. The Warriors had only 1 playoff appearance in 17 years before Jackson became head coach. Jackson, with the help of Stephen Curry had led the Warriors to 2 playoff appearances in a row in the 2012-13 season and 2013-14 seasons. Jackson was later fired despite helping the warriors flourish. Jackson now has gained a lot of weight, he looks chubbier and more full. Jackson used to be a skinny scrappy point guard, but is shockingly different now.
13 Charles Barkley
Charles Barkley is one of America's favorite commentators on TV. Working for NBA on TNT. Barkley was a 6' 6" powerhouse rebounder and scorer in his 16 year NBA career. Barkley was an NBA MVP in 1993, an 11x All-Star, an NBA All-Star Game MVP, and a 5x NBA first team. Barkley was also apart of the 1992 USA Olympic Basketball team, better known as "The Dream Team" playing along side the likes of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Clyde Drexler. Barkley Played for teams such as the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, and lastly retiring after injury with the Houston Rockets. Barkley now works as a commentator and TV host, and has taken an interest in politics as well, claiming he would run for governor of Alabama in 2014, but later changing his mind. Barkley now has lost his ways of fitness, as you can see he has gained a significant amount of weight since his peak seasons in the NBA.
12 Bryant Reeves
Bryant Reeves was a Staggering 7'0" center with a large build who was an intimidating player on the Vancouver Grizzlies, later becoming the Memphis Grizzlies, for his 6 year career. Reeves would be picked 6th overall in the first round by the grizzlies actually making him the Grizzlies first ever pick. Reeves was a highly cherished college basketball player. After playing 4 years at OSU and averaging 21.5 point per game, Reeves was going places in the NBA having high expectations coming with his name. Reeves did have a successful first start to his career with his best stat line being 16.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, and about 1.1 blocks per game in 1998. after this year weight problems and injuries led the 7-footer. He only played two preseason games when the team moved to Memphis in 2001, his last game he would be taken off the court in a stretcher, later retiring that year. Bryant Reeves now has gained quite some weight since his college and NBA years. He now lives with his family in children on his large cattle ranch in Gans, OK.
11 Dennis Rodman
Where do I start with Dennis Rodman. Nicknamed "The Worm" because of his amazing defensive and rebounding abilities, he is unlike any other NBA player. Rodman played along side legends including Isaiah Thomas, Scottie Pippen, and the man himself, Michael Jordan. Rodman played with the Spurs, Bulls, Mavericks, Spurs, Lakers, And started his career with the Detroit Pistons. Rodman was a 5x NBA champion and a 2x NBA defensive player of the year in 1990 and 1991. He was also a 7x NBA rebounding champion. Rodman was always known for his crazy hair and his insane highlight plays. After retiring with the Mavericks in 2000, he took a long hiatus and started playing for certain teams in the ABA. Rodman after basketball became quite a scary guy, having an affair with the singer Madonna and shortly married to Carmen Electra. Then in 2013 gained huge publicity when he befriended North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, stating we are all misunderstanding him...Okay...
Rodman now sports piercings all over his face and ears as well as scars and bumps that seem to pop out of his face. He chooses insane articles of clothing just like the one in the picture above, with crazy and sometimes insulting-to-the-eyes hairstyles. He clearly has taken a turn since his years in the NBA.
10 Tom Chambers
Tom Chamber an NBA Hall of Fame inductee, played for the, Clipper, Supersonics, Suns Jazz, he also played in Israel, then later coming back to finish with the Suns. Chambers was a lights out shooter and an amazing dunker when he got the chance. He played for 16 years and became a 4x All-star. Chambers also became part of an elite club to score 20,000 points or more. In his high school years Chambers was a 6'2" guard who could run the floor, later in his high school years he apparently grew 6 inches in 6 months and eventually shot up to 6'10" by the time he was a power forward in the league. His best season chambers ended up averaging 27.2 points per game. Chambers later in life settled down and bought a ranch in North Ogden, Utah. Chambers as you can see has gotten older and has let his hair go. He also gained some weight and has gotten a little more wrinkles.
9 Magic Johnson
Earvin "Magic" Johnson will go down as one of the greatest to ever play. He was a star point guard standing over 6'8" tall, who had all the moves. Johnson was a beast in the NBA, with 5 championships, 3x finals MVP, 3 Season MVP and a 12x NBA All-star, who led the league in assists for 4 different years and steals for 2 different years, along with countless other stats. Johnson later in his career Was hit with terrible news, He had contracted HIV after having a physical in 1991. That same year magic would retire and focus his life in his family and getting better. He had a 12 year career that will forever go down in history. HIV is quite a serious disease, which still has no cure even today. Johnson was diagnosed with HIV which ends up and transforms into AIDS if not taken with extreme caution. Johnson would be able to live his life and even today AIDS free. Johnson became a well-known advocate of HIV and AIDS. He is still living a healthy and stable life today, Johnson after his diagnoses did go back to the NBA to play in 1996 and coach in 1994. Due to his sickness Johnson has to be quite careful of what he eats and does. He has you can see has gained to weight and has lost his hair.
8 Bill Walton
Bill Walton, some call him as "Big Red-Head" was a 6'11" power forward and center in the NBA. He was quite an intimidating player who could dominate in the paint. Walton was the first overall pick by the Portland trailblazers. He would start his first two seasons with them showered by injury. From breaking his nose, foot, wrist, as well as his leg. Later, Walton would be healed enough to help the Trailblazers make it to the playoffs. that season would be the 1976-1977 season where Walton led the league in blocks and rebounds. Walton later would play for the Clippers as well as the Boston Celtics in his 13 year career. His Ankle injuries would start to tally up and effect his game-play. Walton would retire with the Celtics and finish his career in 1987, he did try to come back in 1990 but would still be too injured to play. After retirement Walton would later turn to broadcasting where he would be with ESPN for 19 years after leaving to to back problems suffered in his college years. Now Walton look quite different from his hairy, injury-ridden sports career, he has cut his hair and has gotten grey hair as well as brand new teeth.
7 Julius Irving
Julius Erving, better known as "Dr. J" would be a dominant star in the NBA for 16 years where he would play for the New York Nets in the American Basketball Association as well as the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA. Erving would rack in over 30,000 points in the NBA and ABA. He would Win an NBA championship and 2 ABA championships. He was also a 3x ABA MVP and an NBA MVP in 1981. He was a sports hero in Philadelphia for the remainder of is time in Philly. Erving would later after his retirement get his bachelors degree in 1986 from the university of Amherst in Massachusetts. He was a business man, and bought ownership of part of the Philadelphia bottling factory. He also bought into nascar. In 1998 to 2000 Erving and Joe Washington sponsored the NASCAR Busch Series where he and Washington would be the first minorities to do so. Dr. J now has cut his hair compared to his huge bushy afro he had had in the ABA, he has gotten older and has lost so weight as well.
6 Don Nelson
Don Nelson was a 6'6" shooting guard/small forward who had a huge impact on the game of basketball. Nelson was taken 19th pick overall by the Chicago Zephyrs. He was a 5x NBA champion who would have his no.19 jersey retired to the Celtics He would later be moved to the LA Lakers where he would only play for 2 years. Later he was signed by the Boston Celtics where he would finish his 14 year career. After retiring Nelson turned to Coaching. he became coach of the Milwaukee bucks that following year after his retirement. Nelson came to Milwaukee fresh after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar' move to LA. He would help the team improve their record by 14 games in his first year, and would make the team a solid competitor by the year 1980. Nelson would go in in 1983 and 1985 to win coach of the year with them. he would then move on to coach for the Warriors, Knicks, Mavericks, and then lastly the Warriors where he would finish his coaching career for now. Don Nelson now is 77 years old and has gotten much larger compared to his years in the league he has also let his hair go and his skin sag.
5 Jerry West
Jerry west is the NBA logo himself and if that doesn't tell you this man is a legend in basketball then I do not know what will. West played his entire NBA career with the LA Lakers. West was an NBA champion, 14x all-star and a finals MVP. in his 14 year career he was an all star 14 times. West was drafted 2nd overall in the 1960 NBA draft. He was known for is highlight passes and his lights out shooting. Jerry west is officially #20 on the NBA's points rankings. In his 14 years of playing he would win in the finals once and would average 30.1 points that season where he also won the scoring title and the finals MVP. He will go down as one of the greatest ever. West later in life settled down and married his college sweetheart. He later would divorce and re-marry. He became an executive for the lakers as well helping them trade for Kobe Bryant and picking Shaquille O'Neal out of free agency. Now Jerry west has gained some weight and looks quite older and fuller in the face, he seems more quieted down and Humble now since his years out of the League
4 Bill Russell
Bill Russel was a powerhouse in the NBA, who wasn't afraid to grab rebounds and put them down when he had to. He played center standing at 6 foot 9. Russel was a beast. He would play for the Celtics for 13 years from 1956 to 1969. There Russel would be an NBA champion 11x times. Yes, thats right, 11 times, one for each finger on both hands and then another one. He would also be The NBA MVP 5x times and would make it to the All-star game 12 times. He later Retired with the Celtics. He is currently #2 on the NBA's Rebound list with a staggering 21,620 rebounds. He also would Win 2 Championships as a head coach. He would coach for the Supersonics then not too long after that the Sacramento Kings. Bill Russell is now 83 years old and still doing his thing. he still comes to every NBA finals and some times shows up to games and watches with the fans. Russel has aged quite drastically since his years grabbing boards with the Celtics.
3 Larry Bird
Larry Bird, known for having one of the smoothest shots in NBA. He is also known for his clutch plays and great offense overall. Bird would play his 13 year career all with the Boston Celtics, Just like Bill Russell. Bird would become a 3x NBA champion and the MVP 2 different years. He would also be a key player I the 1992 USA Olympic Basketball Team. Bird scored over 21,000 points throughout his NBA career. Bird was born in West Baden Springs, Indiana in 1956. After his retirement from the Celtics where he had his #33 jersey retired by the Boston Celtics and would later also be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. He would then become Coach of the Indiana pacers form 1997-2000. Bird did not have much impact on the pacers for they only made2 appearances into the playoffs with no championships wins. Bird also became coach of the year, making him the only person ever to win the MVP award and the NBA coach of the year award. Bird now has gained weight and has let his curly hair go. Bird has also aged not quite well as some people literally compare him to a bird.
2 Oscar Robertson
Oscar Robertson, or better known as the "Big O" was quite a player in the early 60s. Playing for the Cincinnati Royals as well as the Milwaukee Bucks, Robertson was a dominate point guard who in his 61-62 season was the first and only player to average a triple double in a season. He held that record for over 50 years until Russel Westbrook in the 2016-2017 season also joined the averaging-the-triple-double-club. Robert would later be traded to the Bucks after drama with bob Cousy. Robertson would then retire with the Bucks in 1974 with a championship, an MVP award and, a dozen All-Star appearances, and later being inducted into the Naismith National Basketball Hall of Fame. Robertson after retirement focused on improving his hometown in Indianapolis. Robertson Like most older players gained some weight, and grew old but looking at his picture can be a big shock to some because of the shape he used to be in compared to the shape he is in now.
1 Elgin Baylor
Elgin Baylor has secured the #1 spot on this list because of his drastic change of appearance which is truly quite shocking. Baylor, who is now 83, was once a promising small forward who now in time a 6' 5" forward is not as common. Elgin Baylor had one of the biggest transformation after his retirement from the NBA in 1972. Elgin was an 11x NBA All-star, NBA All-star MVP in 1959, and as well NBA rookie of the year. playing his whole career with the LA Lakers, Baylor was Los Angeles' biggest fan.He had 3 consecutive seasons where he averaged over 30 pints per game the highest being 38 points per game. Elgin would retire in 1972 and in 1974 Elgin was hired as the assistant then later on the head coach of the new Orleans Jazz. in 1986 he would be hired as the teams vice president and would stay there for 22 years where in 2006 he would win executive of the year. Baylor now has clearly gotten much older almost to the point where you would be concerned for his health.