The NBA battled financial issues, image problems and a substance abuse epidemic in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Talented players like Micheal Ray Richardson, Lewis Lloyd, Mitchell Wiggins and Duane Washington were all banned for their extensive cocaine usage and the association as a whole was on the brink of utter ruin. David Stern, who succeeded Larry O’Brien as commissioner in 1984, happened to ascend to power at the ideal time. Stern entered the equation when Larry Bird's Boston Celtics and Magic Johnson's Los Angeles Lakers were in the midst of a sensational rivalry that created unprecedented interest in professional basketball. As Bird and Johnson grayed and their rivalry neared a close, established stars and budding talents helped lead Stern’s association into the next decade.
Accordingly, primarily thanks to the brilliance of Michael Jordan, the NBA enjoyed tremendous prosperity throughout the 1990s. Somewhat unbelievably, it’s been 19 years since Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to its sixth championship in June 1998. Jordan and the rest of the association’s standouts from the '90s have all retired from competing on the hardwood. Some greats from yesteryear simply shelved their high-top sneakers and disappeared from the spotlight altogether. In contrast, others became coaches, analysts, front-office executives, franchise owners, politicians and one even became friends with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
Father Time is undefeated and no human being is immune to the aging process. Some people are fortunate to age gracefully, while others aren’t quite as lucky. With that noted, let’s take a glance at what these 15 NBA stars from the ‘90s look like today.
16 GARY PAYTON
Gary Payton was a lockdown defender and elite playmaker for the Seattle SuperSonics. The 6-foot-4, 180-pound Payton, who also played for the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, averaged 16.3 points, 6.7 dishes and 1.8 steals over his 17-year career as a professional. Payton, also a nine-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA First Teamer who helped Miami win a title in 2006, was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in September 2013. After retiring, “The Glove” worked as an analyst for Fox Sports 1 NBA. Payton was suspended indefinitely from his role in April 2015 due to allegations of domestic violence and he never returned to the station. However, while with Fox Sports 1, Payton seemed approximately 20 pounds heavier and his goatee had mainly whitened.
15 TIM HARDAWAY SR.
Tim Hardaway was one of the NBA’s preeminent point guards in the 1990s. The 6-foot, 175-pound Hardaway, a five-time All-Star and 1997 All-NBA First Team selection, averaged 17.7 points, 8.2 assists and 1.6 steals over a 14-year career that saw him represent the Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets and Indiana Pacers. The 50-year-old Hardaway mercifully retired in 2006 following a season as a player for the Florida Pit Bulls of the Continental Basketball Association. The native Chicagoan was named an assistant coach for the Detroit Pistons in July 2014. Because he’s apparently been bald since the womb, Hardaway’s hairstyle remains the same. Nevertheless, Hardaway looks like he’s added roughly 20 pounds of blubber working on the sideline in Motown.
14 KEVIN JOHNSON
The Cleveland Cavaliers chose University of California point guard Kevin Johnson with the seventh overall pick in the 1987 draft. Shortly after becoming a Cavalier, Johnson was sent to the Phoenix Suns in February 1988. About 16 months later, the former Golden Bear was named the NBA Most Improved Player in June 1989. Johnson, a three-time All-Star and four-time All-NBA Second Team selection, retired as a member of the Suns in 2000. Completely content with his professional basketball career, Johnson entered politics and became the 55th mayor of Sacramento in November 2008.
Johnson’s first term in office was mainly deemed a success and he was reelected four years later in November 2012. Despite the stressful nature of such a job, the 51-year-old Johnson looks virtually the same today as he did as a rookie in Cleveland.
12 JOE DUMARS
Detroit Pistons legend Joe Dumars was a six-time All-Star and four-time member of the association’s All-Defensive First Team. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Dumars averaged 16.1 points, 4.5 dishes and 0.9 steals in 1,018 games as a Piston. More meaningful than individual accolades, Dumars played a vital role in helping the Pistons win consecutive championships in the 1989 and 1990 seasons. Dumars retired from the game in 1999 and assumed the role of Pistons president of basketball operations prior to the 2000–01 campaign. The former “Bad Boy” prospered in the front office and earned the 2003 NBA Executive of the Year award. Dumars, who stepped aside from his position in Detroit in April 2014, is reportedly prepared to become an executive for the New Orleans Pelicans. Provided this becomes official, fans in the Big Easy can expect to see a pudgier Dumars who now wears thick black glasses.
11 CHRIS MULLIN
The Golden State Warriors took St. John's University small forward Chris Mullin seventh overall in the 1985 draft. The 53-year-old Mullin was a five-time All-Star and member of the original Dream Team that won gold at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer quit playing the game in 2001. However, Mullin remained in the sport and the Warriors appointed him as its president of basketball operations in April 2004. Mullin, who also worked for the Sacramento Kings as an advisor, returned to New York City in March 2015 to lead the men’s basketball program at his alma mater. Minus some extra wrinkles, the 6-foot-6, 200-pound southpaw from Brooklyn looks very much the way he did as a veteran Warrior.
10 CHARLES BARKLEY
Although an exceedingly controversial figure, Charles Barkley was a phenomenal power forward in both the collegiate and professional ranks. The 54-year-old Barkley, an 11-time All-Star and 1993 NBA MVP, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. Called "The Round Mound of Rebound” for his portly frame, the 6-foot-6, 252-pound Barkley played for the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets before retiring in April 2000. A charismatic and engaging man, Barkley has received praise for his work as a NBA studio analyst for TNT over the past 17 years. There’s a longstanding notion that people appear 10 pounds heavier on camera. Whatever the case, the most dominant member of the original Dream Team genuinely looks at least 50 pounds heavier today than when he began his television career at the start of the 21st century.
9 SHAQUILLE O’NEAL
Shaquille O'Neal is arguably the most overpowering center in the association’s history. The 7-foot-1, 325-pound O’Neal led the Los Angeles Lakers to three consecutive titles from 2000 to 2002 and then helped the Miami Heat win a championship in June 2006. Kobe Bryant’s former nemesis earned virtually every individual accolade imaginable and he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016. O’Neal currently works with Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson as a NBA analyst on TNT. O’Neal was expected to scrap The Big Show at WrestleMania 33 on April 2 in Orlando, Florida. Disappointingly, reportedly due to O’Neal’s massive weight gain, plans for the match were nixed. “Shaq Diesel” is rumored to currently tip the scales at in excess of 400 pounds.
8 PATRICK EWING
Center Patrick Ewing was an 11-time All-Star and six-time All-NBA Second Team selection during his 15-year career as a New York Knick. The Washington Wizards hired the 7-foot, 240-pound Ewing, who also played for the Seattle SuperSonics and Orlando Magic, as an assistant coach in 2002. Ewing subsequently worked as an assistant coach for the Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic and Charlotte Hornets. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer succeeded John Thompson III as the head coach of the Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball program in April. Ewing, also a member of the original Dream Team in 1992, looks significantly heftier than he did while manning the paint in Gotham. Hoyas fans can expect a 300-pound Ewing to be pacing the sideline this autumn in Washington, D.C.
7 JOHN STOCKTON
Utah Jazz point guard John Stockton never resembled the typical NBA player. Stockton, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound Caucasian, looks like an average, everyday guy. Belying his appearance, the 55-year-old Stockton is a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer and arguably history’s premier floor general. Stockton, a 10-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA First Team selection, averaged 13.1 points, 10.5 assists and 2.2 steals over 1,504 games with the Jazz. Despite failing to win a championship, Stockton announced his retirement in May 2003.
Stockton is currently employed as an assistant coach for the Montana State University women's basketball program. While teaching female Bobcats on the sideline, Stockton doesn’t look vastly different than he did during his playing days. In fact, although graying and a bit thinner, Stockton looks like he could still effortlessly complete a pick-and-roll with Karl Malone.
6 GRANT HILL
The Detroit Pistons chose Duke University small forward Grant Hill with the third pick in the 1994 NBA Draft. Approximately a year after relocating to Motown to become a Piston, the 6-foot-8, 225-pound Hill was named alongside Jason Kidd as the 1995 NBA Co-Rookie of the Year. Hill was an astounding talent who became a seven-time All-Star and four-time member of the All-NBA Second Team. Unfortunately for Hill and basketball fans as a whole, the past Blue Devil was restrained by chronic ankle ailments. While Hill managed to play 19 seasons in the NBA, his injuries prevented him from becoming one of the association’s true icons. Nearly two years following his retirement, Hill was introduced as vice chair of the Atlanta Hawks in June 2015. The 44-year-old Hill still looks like he could attend classes in Durham.
5 DOMINIQUE WILKINS
Atlanta Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins was one of the most dazzling dunkers in NBA history. Nicknamed “The Human Highlight Film,” the 6-foot-8, 225-pound Wilkins won the association’s slam dunk contest in 1985 and 1990. Beyond the small forward’s aerial acrobatics, Wilkins was a gifted performer on the hardwood. Wilkins, a nine-time All-Star and four-time All-NBA Second Team selection, averaged 24.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 1,074 games. Primarily for his superb work as a Hawk, Wilkins was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. Wilkins joined the Hawks as its vice president of basketball operations and special advisor to CEO in 2004. The 57-year-old Wilkins now sports a grayed goatee and his face is rounder than it was when he flew as a youngster in Hotlanta.
4 DENNIS RODMAN
Dennis Rodman is one of the strangest individuals to ever compete on the NBA hardwood. The 6-foot-7, 220-pound Rodman was also a lockdown defender and potentially the premier rebounder in the annals of the association. “The Worm” played power forward for the Detroit Pistons squad that won consecutive titles in 1989 and 1990 and for the iconic Chicago Bulls team that three-peated in the late 1990s. Rodman played with unbridled energy and he averaged 13.1 boards over 911 games. Particularly for his efforts around the glass, Rodman was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011. Off the court, Rodman was briefly married to sexpot actress Carmen Electra and he forged a bond with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Despite a longstanding battle with substance abuse, the 55-year-old Rodman somehow looks impressive for his age.
3 ISIAH THOMAS
Former point guard Isiah Thomas was a magnificent playmaker who led the Detroit Pistons to consecutive crowns in the 1989 and 1990 seasons. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Thomas, who Detroit selected second overall in 1981 out of Indiana University, averaged 19.2 points, 9.3 assists and 1.9 steals in 979 games as a Piston. Since retiring in 1994, Thomas has experienced mixed results as a coach, front-office executive and businessman. Despite failing miserably as the New York Knicks’ president of basketball operations, James Dolan inexplicably asked Thomas to return to Gotham to serve as the Liberty’s team president in May 2015. The 55-year-old Thomas still has his trademark baby face and he looks like he could reunite the “Bad Boys” for another run at glory.
2 ALLEN IVERSON
The Philadelphia 76ers chose Georgetown University point guard Allen Iverson first overall in 1996. The 6-foot, 165-pound Iverson was a dynamic scoring machine from the outset who earned the 1997 NBA Rookie of the Year award. Iverson, a three-time All-NBA First Team selection who captured the association’s MVP in 2001, averaged 26.7 points, 6.2 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game as a member of the 76ers, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons and Memphis Grizzlies. For his vast accomplishments, Iverson was elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in April 2016. Iverson has been the subject of countless stories that claim he is a broke alcoholic. Whatever the truth is, the 41-year-old “Answer” looks the same as he always has.
1 MICHAEL JORDAN
Michael Jordan is widely lauded as the best player in the annals of the NBA. The 6-foot-6, 215-pound Jordan won nearly every individual award possible over his 15-year career in the association. More importantly, “His Airness” led the Chicago Bulls to six crowns. After his glorious run with the Bulls and somewhat disappointing stint as a Washington Wizard, the 54-year-old Jordan retired for a third and final time in April 2003. Jordan, an insatiably competitive man who ranks among the world’s five richest African-Americans, purchased the Charlotte Bobcats from Bob Johnson in May 2010. Jordan changed the team’s name back to the Hornets and is frequently spotted at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte. Jordan remains an incredible physical specimen and there’s little doubt that he could still contribute to a NBA squad in limited minutes off the bench.
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