Has-Beens in Green: 10 Other Former All-Stars who Finished in Boston
With last year’s signing of Mr Shaq Diesel himself, the Boston Celtics wrote another chapter in its storied history.
Not its history of building championship-contending teams; no, its history of signing fading stars well past their prime, and providing them with a final destination for the conclusion to their careers.
Acting like an elephant burial ground for the NBA, the Boston Celtics has for decades been the last resting place for the careers of a number of former All-Stars.
1. 'Pistol' Pete Maravich
Few people are aware of the fact, but the original ‘White Chocolate’ saw out the end of his career riding the pine for the 1980 Boston Celtics. Waived by the Jazz in January of that year, the Pistol was picked up by the Celtics, buoyed that year by their Rookie of the Year Award winning new talent – Larry Bird.
Unlike Larry Legend, who left the game before outstaying his welcome, Maravich was little more than a novelty when he walked off the Boston Garden parquet, and out of professional basketball, for the final time.
2. Stephon Marbury
Although still plying his trade with China’s own Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons, for all intents and purposes Stephon Marbury’s career ended with a somewhat uneventful stint as a backup guard for the 2009 Boston Celtics.
Marbury’s contribution to the team was minimal at best, and was largely overshadowed by his bizarre online antics that year. Strangely enough, the Celtics actually offered Marbury a one year contract for the 2009-2010 season, which he declined citing a desire to consolidate his ‘business interests’.
3. Bill Walton
Although he went on to be an integral part of one of the best NBA Championship teams of all times, the 1986 Boston Celtics, at the time he was acquired Walton was generally considered an injury-plagued has-been.
He was able to turn back the hands of time for one season, but ultimately by his second season with the Celtics was only able to play 10 games, averaged 2.8 points per game before finally succumbing once more to injuries. That time, however, he never returned to the court.
4. Sam Cassell
Unlike most of the players on this list, Sam had the good fortune to join the Celtics whilst they were on the upswing. Signing with the team as a free agent in March 2008, Sam found himself on an impressive team already looking like contenders for the title.
Signed largely for his capacity to add instant offense, and championship winning experience, Sam was used sporadically during the playoffs and finals - infuriating fans as often as impressing them with his 'shoot first' mentality. However, in the end he earned himself another ring to add to those won with the Houston rockets in the early 1990s.
5. Dominique Wilkins
The ‘Human Highlight Reel’ looked all too human by the time he joined the Celtics for their 1994-95 season. Having just lost two of their superstars, Larry Bird and Reggie Lewis, the Celtics were looking to put bums on seats and thought ‘Nique was the man for the job. After an underwhelming season from Wilkins, with attendance showing no major improvement, both parties parted ways.
Although Wilkins did return to the NBA a year later, after a brief sojourn in Europe, it could be argued that the ‘Human Highlight Film’ finished his career in Boston, even if Dominique Wilkins didn’t.
6. Dana Barros
Barros may seem like an odd addition to this list. Didn't he get traded to the Detroit Pistons (via the Dallas Mavericks) after his time playing with the Boston Celtics? Yes, he did. But a little known fact is that Barros was picked up by Boston after two years out of the league for the 2003-04 season.
Despite being hired primarily as an Assistant Coach for the season, Barris suited up for one last game - adding 6 points in 11 minutes to his career totals.
7. Jim Paxson
Not to be confused with his younger brother, former Chicago Bulls Championship Winner and current VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson, Jim Paxson Jnr had a quite a career for himself too.
Following in the footsteps of his father, Jim Paxson Snr, Jim Jnr joined the NBA and became a player of some regard.
At one time Portland's all-time leading career scorer, and a two time All-Star, by the time Jim Jnr arrived to Boston his career was in terminal decline. Hobbled by injury, he missed much of his three final seasons in Boston.
8. Otis Birdsong
When Otis Birdsong joined the Boston Celtics for the 1988-89 season, the team already belonged to another player with a similarly avian-themed surname.
By this stage, Birdsong's days as an All-Star were long behind him and he posed little threat to Larry Bird's status as 'top bird' in Boston. After numerous seasons averaging over twenty points per game, Birdsong was only able to contribute a meagre 2.8 for his final season in the league.
9. Artis Gilmore
During his peak, Gilmore dominated other bigmen in both the ABA and NBA. He assumed a commanding presence inside for Chicago, San Antonio and the ABA-based Kentucky Colonels.
Previously able to control the middle and block shots with ease, Gilmore served as little more than a third string backup Centre by the time he played his final 47 games as a member of the 1987 Boston Celtics.
10. Dave Bing
Finally, of the players on this list Dave Bing was the only one to keep his statistical legacy intact during his last and only season with the Boston Celtics.
Although his season averages of 13.6 ppg and 3.8 assists were well short of his career highs, they still represented admirable statistics for a former All-Star in the twilight of his career.