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NBA Superstars Destined to Be Forgotten by the History Books

Jonathan WassermanNBA Lead WriterFebruary 15, 2013

NBA Superstars Destined to Be Forgotten by the History Books

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    Some of today's NBA studs might not have the same star power years after they retire. 

    We've seen a number of former stars fade into the background once their playing days have finished. Sometimes, they're just overshadowed by teammates they once had. Others just never created any memories in terms of winning on the big stage.

    The history books don't let all stars in with open arms. You have to be on the list, and in order to be on the list, you have to have accomplished something special. Scoring a lot of points just isn't enough anymore.

Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets

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    It wasn't that long ago that Deron Williams and Chris Paul had separated themselves as the top two point guards in the NBA.

    Then, the Nets acquired Williams and signed him to a $98 million deal. It seems we've already forgotten that this was a max-contract superstar whose power has somewhat faded.

    It's going to fade even more if the Nets can't find a way to be nationally relevant in the big picture.

    Unless Brooklyn makes a few runs at a championship, Williams might be one of the forgotten stars from an era in which he once played a significant role in.

    If Williams goes ringless, are we remembering him 20 years from now? The history books probably won't.

Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers

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    Blake Griffin is one of today's most popular players.

    But he wouldn't be the first freak athlete to draw crowds by creating highlights. In 10 years from now, how many will be remembering Vince Carter as one of the legends? Carter is likely to be "that guy from the dunk contest," considering he achieved little team success over his career.

    How about Shawn Kemp? Kemp was essentially the Blake Griffin of the 90s. Now, people have to go through multiple Google pages just to find out where he is.

    Great athletes make noise in the present, but the ones who don't win big games are the ones forgotten in the history books.

Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

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    What happens if LeBron James just completely dominates the rest of his prime?

    With the way he's been playing, you wonder how many rings this Oklahoma City team will end up with. There's just not enough room in the memory banks for the second-best player or the runner-up.

    In fact, if the Thunder can't find a way to win, Russell Westbrook might find himself in the history books for all the wrong reasons. There's already a fair share of fans out there who think Westbrook's gunner approach is holding Kevin Durant back.

    And then you have to wonder—even if the Thunder do win a few titles, will it be Durant who takes all the credit? You know that if the Thunder start winning rings, the only conversation we'll be having is whether Durant can get to Kobe Bryant's or Michael Jordan's total.

    They sure won't be asking if Westbrook can get to Scottie Pippen's.

Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks

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    New York Knick fans may never forget Carmelo Anthony, but the history books and rest of the world might if he doesn't add some ice to his collection.

    Carmelo is in danger of being just another prolific scorer. We've seen a lot of those guys over the past 50 years—way too many for us to possibly remember. 

    Melo struggled to win big games in his days at Denver, and now, finds himself in the midst of arguably the breaking point of his career in terms of how he'll be remembered.

    If the Knicks continue to last one or two rounds in the playoffs, we could just be talking about another Tracy McGrady. Only McGrady's career was rocked by injuries. If Melo's career gets rocked by first-round exits and bad losses, so will his legacy as an NBA player.

Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

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    It sounds crazy now, but it might not be in 20 years.

    Since LeBron James and Chris Bosh crashed Dwyane Wade's party, the original Miami star's power has begun to flicker.

    It's no longer Wade's team, the way it was when he won his first championship. When we look back at the history books, if the Heat find themselves in it, the title page will have a big fat picture of LeBron James holding the MVP trophy.

    Maybe if the shot is wide enough, we'll get a glimpse of Wade in the background.

    I wouldn't say a guy like Scottie Pippen is forgotten, but nobody asks or talks about how many rings Pippen has. The only thing people want to know is how many Michael Jordan won.

    Wade, at one point, was on the Mount Rushmore of present-day basketball. When it's all said and done, it's possible he's regarded as a complementary No. 2 alongside LeBron. And the history books just aren't big enough for every No. 2 out there.

    Just a thought.

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