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While the players in the honorable mention section don’t qualify as “stars” in today’s NBA landscape, two made multiple All-Star appearances, while the other two won multiple titles.
Those factors alone deserve our respect.
Veteran point guard Derek Fisher has five championship rings to his name and may have to bring a sixth finger into the equation if the Oklahoma City Thunder make a run at the Larry O’Brien trophy.
The 39-year-old will retire after his 18th season in the pros when OKC’s playoff run comes to an end, according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.
“I rarely use the word never, but I feel like this is a good opportunity to put a cap on a great career. I think we have a legitimate chance to make a run at the title,” Fisher said, per Medina.
For nostalgia sake, here’s the video of Fisher’s game-winner with 0.4 seconds remaining on the clock—apologies to all San Antonio Spurs fans.
The years of “Vinsanity” with the Toronto Raptors and New Jersey Nets are in the rearview mirror. And while "Half-Man Half-Amazing" isn't nearly as amazing as he once was, Vince Carter has produced as a role player for the Dallas Mavericks during the twilight of his NBA career by way of the three-point shot.
The 37-year-old notched an average of 39.4 percent from beyond the arc during 2013-14 and 40.6 percent from deep with the Mavs in 2012-13. He no longer has the pep in his step that he once had, but he’s still managed to throw down graceful slams despite his age.
He has no plans of retirement, according to Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Nevertheless, his contract with Dallas is set to expire at season’s end, so it will be interesting to see where the eight-time All-Star winds up—and if he reaches postseason play again.
Elton Brand was selected No. 1 overall in the 1999 draft by the Chicago Bulls. He averaged at least 18 points and nine rebounds for eight consecutive seasons to start his career between Chicago and the Los Angeles Clippers. Because he never played for an elite team, his individual accomplishments have been overshadowed over the years.
Brand, however, was one of the league’s best big men for nearly a decade. He earned two All-Star appearances as well: 2002 and 2006.
The big man is now suiting up for the No. 8 seed Atlanta Hawks. He averaged 5.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game during the regular season.
The second Duke Blue Devil to appear in the honorable mention section, Shane Battier will retire at season’s end, barring “an act of God,” per Bleacher Report’s Ethan Skolnick via Twitter.
The 35-year-old is playing his 12th NBA season. He carved a niche as a defensive glue guy for the Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets and Miami Heat—where he won back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013.
Some view him as a notorious flopper, while others regard him as a savvy veteran. Whatever your stance, you can’t fault the man’s work ethic throughout a successful NBA career.