Who Knew These Guys are now Gone?
When Kobe Bryant retired, there was an entire seasonal ceremony. It was his last hurrah so the world obviously had to stop on its axis and take notice, anybody not leaving under a rock knew it was happening. Game number 82 was special and the entire NBA world had their eyes on Kobe that night as the Laker superstar was stepping on a basketball court for the last time.
Later in the offseason Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen retired – all three former superstars and future hall of famers – all three retirements were met with as much media hype as the next. Again, every NBA fan new what just happened. Four of the greatest ever have retired, their careers were acknowledged, and now they can all enjoy retirement peacefully.
But there are always the NBA players who just fade away in the background. Not to say that they are scrubs, but they were never the guys, and more often than not, their retirements go unknowingly. The world goes on and no one bats an eye.
That led us to ponder, who are the some of the top guys who retired recently without anyone even realizing? Yes, former Raptor great Aaron Gray and even Darius Songalia retired very recently, 2015 to be exact, but we are going to look at slightly bigger names for this list and keep their memories alive forever!
5) Kenyon Martin
Remember this dude? The guy who used to tear down rims when he dunked? One of the bigger names when the Nets were making their NBA Finals run at the turn of the century? Since then, Kenyon Martin has continue to fade away until his eventual retirement in 2015.
The 15-year NBA veteran played seven seasons with the Nets, four more with the Denver Nuggets before bouncing around a few teams to end his career. And in case you don’t remember Martin even retiring, who knew he retired as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks?
The power forward ended his career averaging 12.3-points, and 6.8-boards per game, yet seemingly evaporated from the face of the planet.
4) Andrei Kirilenko
Who can forget AK-47? One of the few successful Russia athletes on the NBA stage to ever live, yet somehow not many people remember the former All-Star’s career ended. Andrei Kirilenko enjoyed a 13-year NBA career, primarily with the Utah Jazz, being known as a defensive stopper. A lanky and long 6’9” small forward who gave opposing scorers fits on a nightly basis.
Throughout his 13-years in the league, Kirilenko averaged 11.8-points and 5.5-rebounds per contest, adding an impressive 1.4-steals and 1.8-blocks per game to his career stats as well.
After his time in Utah, his career begun to spiral into unknowingness. He took a year off from the NBA to play overseas in Russia, then returned to play in Minnesota and Brooklyn. Then vanished.
Don’t worry Ak-47, we will keep your name alive!
3) Hedo Turkoglu
Next up is Hedo Turkoglu. One of Turkey’s greatest basketball products, Turkoglu made a name for himself in Orlando where he won a Most Improved Player of the Year award, which allowed him to secure a nice contract with the Toronto Raptors.
Pft. Silly Raptors.
The former first round pick averaged 11.1-points and 4.0-rebounds throughout his illustrious career, which included an NBA Finals berth with the Magic and a nice run with the Sacramento Kings in the early part of the century, which was dominated by the Lakers.
After making a name for himself in Orlando, Turkoglu moved to Toronto for a season where he failed to live up to expectations. Afterwards, he spent the rest of his career jumping around from team to team. First the Phoenix Suns, then back to the Orlando Magic, and finally to the Los Angeles Clippers. He even had a brief PED suspension somewhere along the line.
In 2015, the great Turkish star retired and while no one batted an eye, we recognize the nice career that Hedo had!
2) Stephen Jackson
Let’s try to remember Stephen Jackson for something more than just one of the guys who was involved in ‘Malice at the Palace’. Although sometimes a loose cannon, Jackson spent his career being one of the better and more consistent scorers around.
The nearly 15-year career of Jackson ended in 2015 when he announced retirement even though he has last played in the 2013-14 season with the San Antonio Spurs. He averaged 15.1-points for his career and made a living of drilling big shots and being a borderline star, even winning a ring with the Spurs in 2002-03.
Now retired, maybe this will help people remember that Jackson is now gone, but he actually was a pretty great player who even had seasons in which he averaged over 20-points a ball game. Dude was good, yet left the game unnoticed.
1) Kevin Martin
Hey what has Kevin Martin been up to? Said no one ever, and it is unfortunate that life is that way.
One of the more savvy scorers in the game has actually announced retirement just a couple of days ago so if anything actually stopped you for a second to think about what happened to him, let this be pretty much like breaking news.
Martin came into the league with Sacramento and quickly ascended into one of the best scorers in basketball averaging over 20-points per game for a string of five straight seasons. He was infamously involved in the James Harden trade that moved the bearded star to from Oklahoma City to Houston and dashing OKC’s hopes for another Finals run.
Martin even averaged 20-points per game just four seasons ago with the Wolves, albeit in a shortened one due to injury, something that his career will come to be known for – a great NBA talent who just could not stay healthy.
Martin last played only 16-games in the 2015-16 season with the Spurs, not finding a spot on a roster this year and thus opting towards retirement after a great, but unfortunately forgettable career.