It’s not a secret that there are some players that we often tie to an organization, and we seem to forget that they actually played for other teams throughout their careers.
Even some of the greatest players in the history of basketball have had some ‘dark’ or lesser-known passages. They left the teams that made them great to continue their careers on other franchises, sometimes teaming up with other stars but with little-to-no success.
We’ve seen this happen countless times. Either because they’re traded away as they grow old or because they join a contender in free agency to pursue an NBA Championship before retiring. Here, we’ll let you know about some players that you definitely forgot that were teammates:
Kobe Bryant & Dennis Rodman (1998-99)
Kobe Bryant wasn’t the superstar we know nowadays during the 1998-99 season but he was already showing glimpses of greatness. The Los Angeles Lakers were looking to build a Championship contender so they brought in a veteran with a lot of playoff experience.
However, the Rodman experiment in LA didn’t pay off the way everybody intended. Basketball wasn’t a priority for him anymore and he could just make 23 appearances (11 starts), averaging 2.1 points and 11.2 rebounds per game on 28.6 minutes.
LeBron James & Shaquille O’Neal (2009-10)
Shaquille O’Neal and LeBron James teamed up for the 2009-10 season and Shaq was pretty hyped by the opportunity of “winning a ring for The King,” which was his motto for the campaign. Sadly, injuries got the best of him for most of the year.
When healthy, Shaq made a huge impact on both ends of the floor for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and even though he was still far from his prime, he still managed to average 12.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.2 blocks per game at 37 years old.
Dennis Rodman & Shaquille O’Neal (1998-99)
Obviously, if Dennis Rodman played with Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in 1998-99, that also means that he played with the most dominant big man in the history of the game: Shaquille O’Neal, who was the undisputed leader of that team.
Rodman’s sister served as his agent following his successful tenure with the Chicago Bulls and paved his way to the Los Angeles Lakers. Sadly for him, he was released in the offseason as he just wasn’t able to be the same difference-maker he was in his prime.
Vince Carter & Hakeem Olajuwon (2001-02)
It goes without saying that Hakeem Olajuwon is the greatest player in the history of the Houston Rockets, so you’d expect him to spend his entire career with the organization. However, they traded him to the Toronto Raptors at 39 years old.
The Raptors were trying to become a contender led by Vince Carter, one of the most entertaining players in the league at the time. Sadly, Olajuwon couldn’t make much of an impact, averaging roughly 7.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game.
Larry Bird & Pete Maravich (1979-80)
Even though he also played for the Hakws, most people usually tie Pete Maravich to the Utah Jazz organization, as he had the best years of his career with them. Also, people forget that he played for the Boston Celtics right before retiring.
Pistol Pete signed as a free agent with the Celtics for the 1979-80 season after leaving the Jazz. However, he could only make 26 appearances (4 starts) next to Larry Bird and the Celtics, averaging 11.5 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game
Charles Barkley & Scottie Pippen (1998-99)
Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen were used to playing against each other and Pippen even beat Chuck in the NBA Finals when he played for the Chicago Bulls. Apparently, they didn’t even get along, but that didn’t stop the Houston Rockets from trying to pair them.
33-year-old Scottie Pippen was traded to the Houston Rockets to team up with Barkley and averaged 14.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game while starting all 50 games that season. However, the experiment didn’t pay off and he was dealt again at the end of the season, this time to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Tim Duncan & Tracy McGrady (2012-13)
Tracy McGrady will go down as one of the greatest and most unstoppable scorers in the history of basketball once it’s all said and done, but the lack of success in the playoffs will always be a stain in his otherwise flawless résumé. That’s why he decided to join the San Antonio Spurs for the end of the 2012-13 season.
McGrady teamed up with Tim Duncan, Manu Ginóbili, and Tony Parker for the 2013 NBA Finals but didn’t make an impact, making just 6 appearances in the postseason but not scoring a single bucket for them. To make things even worst, the Spurs lost to the Miami Heat in the Finals.
Steve Nash & Jason Kidd (1996-1998)
Steve Nash and Jason Kidd were the most influential point guards of the 2000s. It seems like they took turns to be the best playmaker in the league from season to season, yet people tend to forget that they were teammates from 1996 to 1998.
Kidd was the starting point guard for the Phoenix Suns and Nash came off the bench earlier on his career before being traded to the Dallas Mavericks and breaking out. Nash eventually came back to Phoenix and won a couple of MVPs, while Kidd won a ring with the Mavericks as a veteran.
Charles Barkley & Julius Erving (1984-1987)
Julius ‘Dr. J’ Erving is one of the greatest and most influential players to ever live. He became a legend everywhere he played, and the Philadelphia 76ers were perennial candidates as long as he was there, especially when they added Charles Barkley.
Barkley is the greatest player in Phoenix Suns history but he actually started his career with the Philadelphia 76ers, playing side by side with Julius Erving for the first three years of his career. Dr. J retired and the Sixers traded Barkley in 1993.
Gary Payton & Patrick Ewing (2000-01)
Patrick Ewing is considered the greatest player to ever wear a New York Knicks’ uniform. He was dominant, strong, physical, and led them to the NBA Finals, even though he could never get the job done and win an NBA Championship for them.
Still, the New York Knicks traded him to the Seattle Supersonics in 2001 where he teamed up with Gary Payton and averaged 9.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. He’d later finish his career coming off the bench for the Orlando Magic.