Top 15 Wastes of Talent in NBA History

For die hard NBA fans, there is absolutely nothing that makes you want to pull out your hair more than watching an NBA player that throws away their career either due to poor work ethic, a sophomoric attitude, or because of their off the court drama that has nothing to do with basketball careers and resembles more of a high school teenage drama. For us laymen, we have all thought about what we would give up in order to be in the NBA. And trust me, it’s a lot. So, when we see someone that has the God-given talent that most of us do not have, it bothers us.

Most of us are not 6-9, nor can we jump like a gazelle, or run like a marathon runner. Those raw gifts and talents are reserved for a very special segment of the entire world. So, to see a human specimen such as a NBA player, throw away their careers or underachieve in their careers, makes us all shake our heads, and it’s not even so much because we’re disappointed with them, so much as it is a self-centered wondering with what we would have done with that kind of talent.

The NBA has historically been filled with players who have underachieved and thrown away their careers for the most mind-blowing reasons. Just look at Larry Sanders right now on the Milwaukee Bucks. Fresh off of signing a 4-year deal worth $44 million, Sanders has recently thought about leaving the game of basketball entirely, which he is totally entitled to do. But if you are going to be a professional basketball player, you have to earn your paycheck and act professional.

Last year, Sanders was one of the best interior defenders in the NBA. Today, you will find him at the end of the Milwaukee bench. To make matters even worse, Sanders was recently suspended for 10 games for violating the NBA’s drug policies.

What has happened to Larry Sanders is just one of the many examples of players who underachieved, despite having all of the talent in the world. Below is a list of fifteen other players that Sanders could do well to learn from.

15 15. J.R. Rider


14 14. Darius Miles


13 13. Michael Beasley

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

12 12. Darko Milicic

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

11 11. Rasheed Wallace


10 10. Greg Oden

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

9 9. Derrick Coleman


8 8. Eddie Griffin


7 7. Kwame Brown

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

6 6. Steve Francis


5 5. Vin Baker


4 4. Stephon Marbury


3 3. Baron Davis


2 2. Andrew Bynum

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

1 1. Lamar Odom

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Odom in many ways was LeBron James before LeBron James. At 6-10, the left hander could legitimately play every position on the floor. He could bring the ball up and he could post on the block. His versatility is what made him so incredibly valuable and what had him drafted fourth overall in the 1999 NBA Draft. But Lamar was plagued by offseason problems for the majority of his 14-year career, which abruptly ended two years ago as a Los Angeles Clipper.

Give TheSportster a Thumbs up!

Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?

Get Your Free Access Now!

More in NBA

Top 15 Wastes of Talent in NBA History