How Did 1990 NBA Stars Finish Their Careers? (Part 2)

This is Part 2 of how 1990 NBA stars finished their careers. If you haven’t read part one, you can do so here. With that, let’s jump right in!

Charles Barkley:

Credit to the NBA for picture

Charles Barkley has most notably played for the Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns, the team that drafted him and the team on which he won league MVP. During his time in Phoenix, he would also face off against Michael Jordan in the Finals. However, after 11 All-Star appearances, 11 All-NBA appearances, and a league MVP, Barkley still lacked what he desired most… a ring. Seeing the success the Houston Rockets had once Jordan retired briefly, Barkley would demand a trade and be sent to the Houston Rockets, in exchange for point guard Sam Cassell, clutch shooter Robert Horry, as well as players Mark Bryant and Chucky Brown. On the Rockets, Barkley would be named an All-Star once, and after that, his play deteriorated. Taking a pay cut so that Pippen could join the team, the two All-Stars had a falling out and their super team failed. Barkley retired after the 1999-2000 season on the Rockets, at the age of 38, only playing 20 games. Now, you can find Barkley being roasted by Shaq on an hourly basis on TNT about never winning a ring.

David Robinson:

Credit to NBA Photos for picture

David Robinson was a military man, and by all means, a much better role model than Charles Barkley (Robinson didn’t spit on little girls). Robinson was drafted in 1987, but he made the San Antonio Spurs wait two years while completing his US Navy requirements (U.S. Naval Academy grad). After that was completed, Robinson had no trouble adjusting his game to the NBA. Named an All-Star his rookie season, Robinson would lead the league in games played his first two seasons, only not starting in two games. He would continue to be an All-Star every year up until 1996. During that time, he led the league in rebounding, blocks, points, as well as winning MVP and DPOY. Unfortunately, he only played six games in the 1996-97 NBA season, as he broke his foot. The San Antonio Spurs plummeted towards the bottom of the standings, unintentionally won the lottery, and drafted the best power forward in NBA history, Tim Duncan. With a young star to mentor and dominate with, Robinson resurged, becoming an All-Star the next year (1998) and winning a championship the next (1999). He would be named an All-Star two more times in his career, and would retire after the 2002-03 season, where he would win his second championship. Maybe it had to do with his college choice, but David Robinson was loyal to the end and never left the team that drafted him.

Isiah Thomas:

Credit to Sportingnews for picture

Famously snubbed from the Dream Team (even though head coach Chuck Daly was the Detroit Pistons Head Coach), Isiah Thomas was the best player in the late 80s/early 90s to not play with the elite squad. Drafted in 1982 and a member of the infamous Bad Boys Pistons, Thomas had a quick rise to stardom, making the All-Star Team his rookie season. His sophomore campaign saw him average 20 points per game for the first time, and shortly after he would average 10+ assists per game. He would lead the league in assists in 1985, and won two championships in 1989 and 1990. Named the Finals MVP for the latter of the championships, Thomas’ career would have some black marks on them. In 1991, Thomas would infamously walk off the court before the game was over after losing to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. A couple of years before that, when playing the Celtics, Dennis Rodman said that Larry Bird was all hype, and if he wasn’t white, he would just be another player. Rodman’s words were dismissed as those of a loose-lipped rookie, but Thomas’ big mistake would be saying that he agreed with Rodman. These words would hurt immensely, so much so that when Thomas called Larry Bird to apologize, Bird said he didn’t care and if he wanted to apologize, he should do it to his Mom. Georgia Bird was a big fan of college basketball in Indiana, and a fan of Thomas’ growing up. Try imagining what that conversation went like. After he was snubbed from the Dream Team, Thomas would have one more All-Star season in 1993, at the age of 31. The next season, his 13th, would be the only year of his career he didn’t make an All-Star team, and after that year, he would retire at the age of 32, to become one of the worst executives in NBA basketball history.

Gary Payton:

Credit to CGTN for picture

The heart and soul of the Seattle Supersonics for years, Gary Payton didn’t become one of the NBA’s biggest stars until after Michael Jordan retired (for the first time). Known for his incredible trash talking and defensive abilities, Payton led the NBA in games played in a season five times, and is the only point guard in NBA history to win the Defensive Player of the Year award. In 1996, the year he won that award, he led the NBA in steals, averaging 2.9 per game. During that same season, he would make a trip to the NBA Finals with his teammate Shawn Kemp, only to get run over by Michael Jordan and the 72-win Chicago Bulls. After those Finals, Payton would remain an All-Star, playing in Seattle until 2002. In the 2002-03 season, he would be traded to the Milwaukee Bucks for Ray Allen, a trade the Sonics’ fans despised at first. After he finished out that season in Milwaukee, Payton made his way to the Los Angeles Lakers, forming a superteam with Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, and Shaq, as he desperately wanted a ring. Unfortunately, feuding in Los Angeles and an NBA Finals loss in five games to the Detroit Pistons was too much. After one season with the Lakers, he was traded to the Boston Celtics, where he also played one year, not finding success. After that, he signed with the Miami Heat, and at last got the ring he deserved in 2006, winning a championship beside Dwayne Wade and Shaq. After the 2006-07 season, the Glove would retire at the age of 38, having played 17 seasons in the NBA.

Shawn Kemp:

Credit to Rocky Widner of Getty Images for picture

Like his fellow teammate on the Supersonics, Shawn Kemp had a great prime in the mid-1990s. Once he adjusted to the league after his first few seasons, Kemp was named an All-Star, and stayed that way for six consecutive seasons. During that time he was named to three All-NBA teams, and ended Alton Lister’s career with this amazing poster dunk. However, at the age of 27 in his prime, the Sonics traded him to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He would be named an All-Star once with the Cavaliers, but couldn’t find postseason success. Kemp also battled weight issues, with the general manager Wayne Embry saying he weighed over 300 pounds at one point in time! Despite not losing weight, Kemp averaged over 20 points per game for the first and only time in his career. After another subpar season with the Cavaliers, he was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers, where he was able to reunite with his old coach, Bob Whitsitt. Unfortunately, he had alcohol and drug problems, and his first season was hindered by a stint in rehab. After his second season with the team, he was waived, and played one more season in the NBA with the Orlando Magic. On the Magic, Kemp would play center, but no magic would come from this change. Averaging 6.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, and not even one full assist per game, Kemp retired after the 2002-03 season at the age of 33, his 14th.

Reggie Miller:

Credit to 8points9seconds for picture

Drafted into the NBA during the 1987 draft from UCLA, Reggie Miller’s best years were spread throughout the league, and he didn’t have one definitive prime in which he peaked and then slowed back down. In just his third season (1990), he averaged 24.6 points per game and made his first All-Star appearance. He would lead the league in free throw percentage the next year, and average 20+ points per game in those seasons as well. However, Miller would not make his next All-Star appearance until 1995, at the age of 29. During that 1995 season, he would famously score eight points in nine seconds, arguably the greatest play/series of plays a Pacer has ever made. Miller was also an All-Star the next year at 30, and in 1998 too. He would be named an All-Star for the final time in the 1999-00 season, where he would lead the Pacers to the NBA Finals. They would lose to the Kobe and Shaq-led Lakers, but just leading them there certified Miller’s spot as the greatest player to ever play for the Indiana Pacers. Miller would finish out the rest of his career in Indiana, retiring at the age of 39, having led the league in free throw percentage five different times. Although he only made the All-NBA three times, there is no denying his greatness.

If you enjoyed this blog series, then make sure to follow the NBA Blog by clicking the follow button or entering your email address below. Comment down below what blogs you would like to see next, and as always, have an awesome day!


2 thoughts on “How Did 1990 NBA Stars Finish Their Careers? (Part 2)

  1. Love these NBA history lessons. Did Charles Barkley really spit on a little girl, I knew there was something about him that I didn’t like. In your next Blog, I would enjoy reading about Larry Bird and some of his “side bar” comments on the court, specifically those aimed at opposing coaches and players. Thanks and keep your Blog’s coming.

    Liked by 1 person

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