Spending a lot of time in one team is something just a handful of players are able to achieve, either because teams view their players as expendable assets, or because players tend to look for better opportunities elsewhere.
Loyalty is rarely seen nowadays, but it was way normal to see players spend a lot of years in one team when the cap space rules were different, and players valued the town as much as they valued their team.
Today, we’re going to take a look at 10 players that became living institutions within the organizations they spent a lot of years, talking about the 10 longest tenured players in the history of the league.
10. Hal Greer: 15 years
Hal Greer spent his whole 15-year career as a member of the Syracuse Nationals, also known as the Philadelphia 76ers nowadays. Over that span, the combo guard made it to 10 All-Star Games and led the team to the Championship in 1967. As a coincidence, his number 15 jersey is retired by the Sixers thanks to his career averages of 19.2 points, 5 rebounds and 4.2 dimes a game.
9. Dolph Schayes: 15 years
Schayes also spent his entire career as a member of the Syracuse Nationals, and also had his number 4 jersey retired after being considered as one of the most prolific and dominant rebounders and scorers in the league at that time. Winner of the 1955 NBA Championship, he also made it to 12 All-Stars, led the league in boards once and made 12 All-NBA teams.
8. Udonis Haslem: 15 years
Udonis Haslem is one of the most beloved players in Miami Heat history, despite losing a lot of playing time over the course of the years due to his age and the surge of young stars. Even so, Haslem is the only player besides Dwyane Wade to have won all 3 NBA Championships with the Miami Heat.
7. John Havlicek: 16 years
John Havlicek is considered to be one of the best two-way players this league has ever seen, not to mention the fact that he’s also one of the biggest winners ever. Havlicek spent his entire career with the Boston Celtics, winning 8 trophies over that span. Also, he made it to 13 All-Stars, won 1 Finals MVP, made 11 All-NBA teams and 8 All-Defensive squads as well.
6. Manu Ginobili: 16 years
Manu Ginobili is arguably the biggest steal in NBA Draft history, the main responsible why the Eurostep is so popular, and the best player coming off the bench ever. Manu became a living legend with the Spurs after a 16-year career, winning 4 Championships, 1 Sixth Man of the Year award and making it to 2 All-Star games as well, and rumors point towards him becoming the next Spurs coach when the time comes.
5. Reggie Miller: 18 years
Reggie Miller had the tough luck to play in the same era when Michael Jordan also did it, so that’s one of the main reasons why he was never able to win a Championship. Even so, instead of pulling off a Kevin Durant, he stayed put with the Indiana Pacers for good despite not always having a capable support cast. Being considered the best three-point shooter in the world at the time, he made it to 5 All-Stars.
4. Tim Duncan: 19 years
Tim Duncan is the only player in San Antonio Spurs history to be present in all 5 Championships, being extremely featured in both ends of the hardwood in all of the 19 seasons he spent with the organization. 2 MVPs, 3 Finals MVPs, ROY, 15 All-Defensive Teams, 15 All-NBA Teams, 15 All-Star Games, 1 All-Star MVP are just a handful of the many accolades the Big Fundamental won over his career.
3. John Stockton 19 years
Just like Miler, Stockton had the bad luck to coexist with Michael Jordan in the league despite his Jazz being the team to beat during the last 2 finals MJ won. Moreover, he rathered stay with Utah for good and spent almost 2 decades in the mountains. Being a late bloomer, he’s the best pure point guard ever, made it to 10 All-Stars, led the league in steals twice besides leading it in dimes in 9 different seasons.
2. Kobe Bryant: 20 years
The Black Mamba was loyal to the Los Angeles Lakers for two decades despite being pretty close to being traded a couple of times following the post-Shaq era. Bryant led the team to the last 5 Championships in franchise history, won 1 MVP, 2 Finals MVPs and holds the record for games played, most minutes played, and points scored in a game in Lakers history, becoming the greatest player to ever wear the purple and gold.
1. Dirk Nowitzki: 20 years
Dirk Nowitzki is the greatest player in Dallas Mavericks history and one of the most consistent and prolific scorers ever. Coming out of Germany, the big man had such a smooth shoot he completely changed the way the power forward spot was played. Recording over 30 thousand career points, Dirk will come back for at least one more season following 20 campaigns, having 1 MVP, 1 Finals MVP and 1 Championship under his belt.