NBA players come and go with only the very best sticking around for a long time. With a draft every year, there are plenty of players joining the league while others exit. It is somewhat unrealistic to expect fans to be familiar with every single player on every team, and since there are always new stars coming up - the older ones tend to be forgotten. That's not to say that you wouldn't recognize these players as most of them are remembered for one reason or another.
But their overall legacy hasn't quite aged as well as they would have liked. And when it comes to most NBA players, they tend to be forgotten as soon as they decline - and even more so when they are out of the league. A quick look at the All-Star teams from the past ten years will bring up some names that you may not have heard of in a while. There are some players who manage to stick around for so long and yet happen to be quickly forgotten by fans, mainly due to their lack of impact in the playoffs.
When it comes to winning players, it is only natural that fans will always remember them due to the unforgettable moments that they created. Such isn't the case for most players who land in the NBA - many of whom have ended up on today's list. Here are the top 20 forgotten NBA players of the 21st century.
20 Hasheem Thabeet
In the packed 2009 NBA Draft, the Memphis Grizzlies selected Hasheem Thabeet with the second overall pick over the likes of Stephen Curry, James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, Tyreke Evans, and Ricky Rubio. The future of the franchise could have surely changed if the team went with any other player. Thabeet has become known as one of the biggest busts in recent history although most fans have no recollection of him as a player since he failed to make any impact in his seven seasons. He has already been out of the league for four years now, and surely won't be making it back.
19 Eddy Curry
Eddy Curry was once one of the best big men in the NBA and had the potential to become even better. From his stint with the Chicago Bulls to the New York Knicks, he certainly backed up the hype with his stats - putting up impressive numbers across the board. And while he was criticized for his lack of rebounding and defense, Curry was still scoring plenty of points. But he began declining faster than anyone could have imagined as he showed up out of shape, and then later on battle many nagging injuries. Since then, Curry was never able to get his career back on track and became a running joke for several years until he eventually left the league to be forgotten.
18 Monta Ellis
At 32 years old, Monta Ellis has been out of the NBA for a year and the road back is looking less likely with every passing month. Despite being a good scorer, Ellis has failed to flourish as a player with some believing that he isn't someone who will win you many games. While he did fill in the stats sheet, Ellis hasn't won any individual awards outside of the Most Improved Player in 2007, and has also failed to make any impact in the Playoffs. That is the recipe of a player who is bound to be quickly forgotten by fans as Ellis already has been.
17 Josh Howard
It has probably been a number of years since you last heard of the name Josh Howard. The forgotten All-Star player is rarely mentioned these days as he had a relatively short NBA career of nine years and began declining as soon as he left the Dallas Mavericks. Despite being given chances by three teams afterwards, Howard was never able to get his career back on track again. He struggled with a number of injuries - including a torn ACL - which explains why he vanished from the limelight. Despite lacking longevity, Howard had some impressive years with the Mavericks.
16 Kenyon Marin
Drafted as the first pick of the infamous 2000 NBA Draft, Kenyon Martin had a good career overall. While he certainly didn't live up to the initial hype, nor was his career worthy of a number one pick - he was still among the standouts in an awful draft. He is best remembered for his days as a member of the New Jersey Nets and later on the Denver Nuggets - both teams which became contenders at some point. If you don't become a star in the NBA, you are often forgotten despite Martin's longevity as a role player as well as his lone All-Star appearance in 2004.
15 Jamaal Magloire
Jamaal Magloire is another player drafted in 2000 and one of the very few to become an All-Star. Some have dubbed him as the worst All-Star in NBA history, but regardless it is still an impressive accolade on his resume. While Magloire has never filled up the stat sheets, he had several good seasons early on before he declined and saw a decrease in his minutes. He did manage to stick around for many years afterwards - providing a veteran presence for various teams. After calling it a career, Magloire joined the Raptors staff as an assistant where he remains as of today.
14 Chris Kaman
In the stacked 2003 NBA Draft, Chris Kaman was drafted sixth overall by the Los Angeles Clippers. He would go on to play eight years for the team with some solid seasons - including the 2010 campaign that earned him an All-Star appearance - but Kaman only played in the playoffs three times. He spent most of his career playing for terrible teams, which is why not many fans remember him today compared to some of his peers. When it comes to the NBA, only the very best as well as winning players are remembered once they are gone from the league.
13 Roy Hibbert
At some point, fans were talking about Roy Hibbert as one of the best centers in the league due to his play with the Indiana Pacers - making two All-Star appearances in the process. Unfortunately for him, the league changed overnight with the rise of the Golden State Warriors and the popularity of small ball - making him a liability on both ends. As the league adapted to what made Hibbert efficient in the first place, he was no longer of use for NBA teams - which is why he couldn't land a job for the past two seasons. Last month, he officially announced his retirement and it went unnoticed.
12 Michael Redd
It's a shame that Michael Redd has become a forgotten name among fans because he was one of the best scorers in the league in his prime years. He was known for his three point shooting, and put up some impressive stats across the board until he tore his ACL and MCL. Since then, Redd would only play two more seasons and was a shell of himself after having re-injured himself a second time. But at least he does have some impressive accolades including a one time appearance at the 2004 All-Star game, an All-NBA selection and an Olympic gold medal.
11 David Lee
Throughout his NBA career, David Lee was known as a double double machine. And while his defense was always criticized, he was still able to carve out a very respectable career including two All-Star appearances an NBA Championship. He opted to retired in 2017 despite receiving interest from various teams around the league, and while he hasn't been gone from the NBA for long - he has already become a forgotten figure for the most part. Lee has been credited by Stephen Curry for assisting the Golden State Warriors in turning around the team to a winning one, while also bringing much needed leadership at the time.
10 OJ Mayo
O.J. Mayo was considered to be a high school phenom back when he was setting the court on fire on weekly basis. The hype grew so large that he graced the cover of multiple magazines and was even dubbed as the next LeBron James. Once he made it to the NBA, he had an outstanding rookie season but it went all downhill from there. Although he did manage to fill in the stats sheet, he never became an impactful player and is now serving a suspension for violating the NBA's rules. Unfortunately for Mayo who is only 30 years old, it doesn't appear like he will be getting a second chance to redeem himself.
9 Brandon Roy
From one of the best players in the league to retirement, it all happened too quickly for Brandon Roy. After leading the Portland Blazers back to relevancy with some great seasons, Roy found himself out of action for extended time as he struggled to get back to full health. Despite various comebacks to return to the NBA, it was evident that Roy had become a shell of himself and had very little left in the tank. Roy could have been one of the best players in modern times if he had remained healthy, but has quickly become a distant memory in the eyes of so many fans.
8 Josh Smith
At 32 years old, Josh Smith is certainly young and talented enough to still be an NBA player. Unfortunately for him, he has been unable to find a home since leaving the Atlanta Hawks in 2013 - becoming a journeyman in the NBA by joining four different teams since then. He had been a good all-around player throughout his years, but a lack of three point shot as well as questionable shot selection has affected his reputation. It doesn't appear that Smith will be making it back in the NBA as he has struggled to impress for the past two years, and he is much more likely to keep playing abroad until he calls it a career.
7 Andrea Bargnani
Coming into the league, Andrea Bargnani was being compared to Dirk Nowitzki thanks to his ability to shoot the ball from all over the court despite being a seven footer. Seeing as he was drafted with the first pick of the 2006 Draft, the Toronto Raptors clearly believed in the hype and would keep him around for seven seasons before eventually trading him to the New York Knicks. Bargnani's career turned out to be extremely underwhelming - mainly due to his lack of interest in playing defense and rebounding. These days, he is only mentioned by Raptors fans who remain sour that Bargnani was drafted over LaMarcus Aldridge.
6 Danny Granger
Danny Granger is one of the many players whos career was ruined by injuries. He led the Indiana Pacers back to relevancy with some strong campaigns, although he would only feature in few games after 2011. Despite various attempts to get back on the court, Granger was never able to remain healthy nor did he impress when he managed to play. His career was practically finished before he even turned 30 years old, and considering that he hadn't accomplished much outside of a one time All-Star appearance - it is no surprise that Granger has been forgotten by most fans.
5 Rashard Lewis
Rashard Lewis had a respectable career as a two-time NBA All-Star and was considered to be among the best three point shooters in the league. His best years came with the Seattle SuperSonics and Orlando Magic - the latter which he helped make a Finals appearance in 2009. But Lewis was another player who declined out of nowhere and became an afterthought in a matter of two years. These days, fans don't quite mention him as one of the better three point shooters of all-time despite having the statistics to back up that claim. But at least he ended his career by winning a championship with the Miami Heat despite minimal contributions from Lewis.
4 Gerald Wallace
Gerald Wallace had some really good years in the league but has become forgotten by most fans since he never had success in the playoffs. He was one of the best defenders in the NBA for quite some time - making the All-Defensive First Team in 2010. He also earned an appearance at the All-Star game that same year, although his decline would begin shortly afterwards. He was out of the NBA within five years at the age of 33 years old, which was surprising since he had been one of the better all-around players before it all went downhill for him.
3 Jay Williams
Touted as one of the best prospects in the world, it is no surprise that Jay Williams was taken with the second pick of the 2002 draft - especially when you consider his accomplishments in NCAA. He would only go on to play one season in the NBA before his career was cut short due to a motorcycle accident that put him out of action for some time. Although he did attempt to return to the league various times, he failed to earn a full-time contract and has now been forgotten by the majority of NBA fans.
2 Ben Gordon
Not many could have predicted Ben Gordon's downfall back when he was a player for the Chicago Bulls. He had some great seasons with the team although his decision to leave in order to join the Detroit Pistons would completely backfire. Gordon was never the same again as he remained on losing teams and never made any real impact again as he did in the 2009 Playoffs. By the time he was 32 years old, he was already out of the NBA and unless you happen to be a Bulls fan, then it is likely that you had forgotten him by now.
1 Bobby Simmons
Bobby Simmons is another player who had a strange career. After getting off to a slow start, he picked it up significantly during the 2004-2005 season with the Los Angeles Clippers in which he was named the Most Improved Player. Simmons would go on to sign a major deal with the Clippers, and there is a belief that he stopped trying once he got paid. Looking at his stats, it is most likely the case as he only had two impressive seasons throughout his career - both of which happened to be prior to the contract. These days, he is known as one of the better one hit wonders in NBA history.