12 NBA Stars on Their Last Legs

Eric HampfordContributor IIIFebruary 8, 2012

12 NBA Stars on Their Last Legs

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    The recent news of Chauncy Billups' season-ending Achilles tendon injury got us thinking about several other NBA stars whose careers are winding down.

    Some of the best players in the history of the game are still traveling from arena to arena this season, playing the game they love, belying their age.

    Injuries have derailed the careers of some of these stars, while others are simply running on fumes as the tail-end of their careers rapidly approach.

    On this list of 12 NBA stars, you will find more than 50 All-Star game appearances and more than 15 NBA Championships won. Each player has indelibly left an imprint on the game of basketball, and it will be a sad day when they decide to call it quits. 

12. Rashard Lewis, Washington Wizards

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    Age: 32 years old

    Seasons in the NBA: 14

    All-Star Appearances: 2

    NBA Championships: 0

    Best Statistical Season: '06-'07  

    22.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists

    Why He's On His Way Out of the Game:

    The 6'10", 230-pound power forward is seeing his career wind down in the worst possible way—with the lowly Washington Wizards. In roughly 28 minutes of action as Washington's starting small forward this season, he is averaging only 8.5 points and 3.9 rebounds—numbers that haven't been so low since his second season in the NBA. 

11. Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics

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    Age: 35 years old

    Seasons in the NBA: 17

    All-Star Appearances: 14

    NBA Championships: 1

    Best Statistical Season: '03-'04

    24.2 points, 13.9 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 2.2 blocks and 1.5 steals

    Why He's On His Way Out of the Game:

    The NBA legend will without a doubt go down as one of the greatest power forwards to ever play the game of basketball. This season, he is still doing his part to help the Celtics in the quest for another championship, with averages of 14.0 points and 7.3 rebounds each game.

    However, he is a mere shadow of the beast he used to be when he anchored the Minnesota Timberwolves franchise.

10.Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs

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    Age: 35 years old

    Seasons in the NBA: 15

    All-Star Appearances: 13

    NBA Championships: 4

    Best Statistical Season: '01-'02

    25.5 points, 12.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.5 blocks

    Why He's On His Way Out of the Game:

    Another one of the greatest players in NBA history, Tim Duncan is barely hanging on with the San Antonio Spurs, the only team he has ever suited up for professionally. Currently, he is averaging 13.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.

    The center is still the centerpiece of the Spurs, but he won't be in San Antonio much longer. Duncan is a class act, and it will be a sad day when he decides to hang up his sneakers.

9. Andre Miller, Denver Nuggets

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    Age:  35 years old

    Seasons in the NBA: 13

    All-Star Appearances: 0

    NBA Championships: 0

    Best Statistical Season: '01-'02

    16.5 points, 10.9 assists and 1.6 steals 

    Why He's On His Way Out of the Game:

    While he lacks the star power of most of the other players on this list, there is no denying that Andre Miller has had a very successful career in the NBA. He is a consummate point guard who teammates love to play with, and he has consistently posted big numbers throughout his career.

    The Denver Nuggets are having a standout season with him contributing off the bench. They have already turned the franchise over to young star Ty Lawson,

8. Jason Kidd, Dallas Mavericks

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    Age: 38 years old

    Seasons in the NBA: 18

    All-Star Appearances: 10

    NBA Championships: 1

    Best Statistical Season: '02-'03

    18.7 points, 8.9 assists, 6.3 rebounds and 2.2 steals

    Why He's On His Way Out of the Game:

    At the ripe age of 38, Jason Kidd is still chugging along in a Dallas Mavericks uniform. Perhaps it's the elusive championship ring he finally won last season, or maybe it's his love of the game—but for whatever reason, he is still playing, and contributing. The 6'4" point guard is one of the best floor generals to call the NBA home, and he is second all-time to Oscar Robertson in career triple-doubles.

    However, he is in the midst of his worst statistical season in the league.

7. Marcus Camby, Portland Trailblazers

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    Age: 37 years old

    Seasons in the NBA: 16

    All-Star Appearances: 0

    NBA Championships: 0

    Best Statistical Season: '05-'06

    12.8 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.3 blocks and 2.1 assists

    Why He's On His Way Out of the Game:

    He may be short on All-Star game appearances and he has no title rings to his name, but that doesn't take away from the impact that Marcus Camby has had on the NBA over the past 16 seasons. He has absolutely dominated the league defensively and in rebounding the ball over the years.

    He was voted the 2007 NBA Defensive Player of the year, was twice voted NBA All-Defensive First Team, twice voted NBA All-Defensive Second Team, and has led the league in blocks for four seasons of his career.

    In limited minutes for Portland this season he's averaging under five points, but holding steady as a rebounding force, averaging over 10 per game.

6. Baron Davis, New York Knicks

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    Age: 32 years old

    Seasons in the NBA: 13

    All-Star Appearances: 2

    NBA Championships: 0

    Best Statistical Season: '03-'04

    22.9 points, 7.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 2.4 steals

    Why He's On His Way Out of the Game:

    Baron Davis has been one of the most fun point guards to watch over the course of his lengthy NBA career. The New York Knick has yet to suit up for his team this season, however, due to injury problems. Still, that doesn''t take away from what he has done in his career. He was once an electrifying floor general who was a standout defensive player, twice leading the league in steals.

5. Tracy McGrady, Atlanta Hawks

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    Age: 32 years old

    Seasons in the NBA: 15

    All-Star Appearances: 7

    NBA Championships: 0

    Best Statistical Season: '02-'03

    32.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.7 steals

    Why He's On His Way Out of the Game:

    Injuries have riddled the once very promising career of Tracy McGrady. However, when he was healthy earlier in his career, his game was a sight to behold. He led the entire league in scoring in both the 2003 and 2004 seasons, capable of carrying the Orlando Magic to victories by himself. The knock on him will always be his inability to carry his teams out of the first round of the playoffs, which is something that will always haunt the 6'8" shooting guard/small forward.

4. Vince Carter, Dallas Mavericks

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    Age: 35 years old

    Seasons in the NBA: 14

    All-Star Appearances: 8

    NBA Championships: 0

    Best Statistical Season: '04-'05

    27.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.5 steals

    Why He's On His Way Out of the Game:

    The Dallas Mavericks swingman will go down as one of the most athletic players to ever showcase his aerial assaults in NBA arenas across the country. He has served as a role model to athletic young basketball players who have grown up idolizing the former UNC Tar Heel.

    He is still serving as a consistent threat for the Mavericks this season, but he is only averaging 10.7 points per game. The older he gets, the most luster leaves his game, which is based on his athletic exploits. 

3. Grant Hill, Phoenix Suns

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    Age: 39 years old

    Seasons in the NBA: 17

    All-Star Appearances: 7

    NBA Championships: 0

    Best Statistical Season: '96-'97

    21.4 points, 9.0 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 1.8 steals

    Why He's On His Way Out of the Game:

    We can only imagine how good Grant Hill could have been if he hadn't suffered the ankle injury with the Detroit Pistons that became a lingering problem throughout his career. He was on pace to become one of the greatest players in NBA history, a point-forward who played a role much like former Chicago Bull and NBA great Scottie Pippen.

    Now, we can only wonder how many more accomplishments and accolades the former Duke star could have piled up, had it not been for his injury issues.

2. Chauncey Billups, Los Angeles Clippers

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    Age: 35 years old

    Seasons in the NBA: 15

    All-Star Appearances: 5

    NBA Championships:  1

    Best Statistical Season: '05-'06

    18.5 points, 8.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds

    Why He's On His Way Out of the Game:

    We learned the sad news this week that Chauncey Billups will miss the remainder of the season with a torn Achilles tendon. While his career with the Los Angeles Clippers may have ended practically before it even started, he will always be remembered for his time as "Mr. Big Shot" with the Detroit Pistons.

    In 2004, he won an NBA Championship while taking home honors as 2004 NBA Finals MVP. The 6'3" point guard has had a splendid career, and vows to return next season. 

1. Ben Wallace, Detroit Pistons

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    Age: 37 years old

    Seasons in the NBA: 16

    All-Star Appearances: 4

    NBA Championships: 1

    Best Statistical Season: '02-'03

    6.9 points, 15.4 rebounds and 3.2 blocks

    Why He's On His Way Out of the Game:

    Like Chauncey Billups, the most successful years of Wallace's career were when he was dominating opponents as a Detroit Piston earlier this century.

    His list of accomplishments is impressive: along with winning an NBA championship in 2004, he was a four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, a two-time NBA rebounding champion and was five times named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team.

    This year, however, he is only playing about 15 minutes per game, and isn't much of a factor for his team.