Saturday, August 1, 2020

Lasts

Firsts are often celebrated, but lasts? Not so much. With Vince Carter recently retiring, I thought I would take a look at some of the lasts of the NBA. 

Last player active in the 1990s- Vince Carter
Vince was the 5th overall pick of the 1998 draft, and played until March 2020, when his career was ended prematurely by the coronavirus. He had previously announced that this would be his final season, so he only lost a handful of games. He holds the record for the longest NBA career.

Last player active in the 1970s, the ABA, and the Buffalo Braves: Moses Malone
Moses Malone was tied as the previous record holder for longest career, he was in the NBA from 1976-1995. He played the two previous years in the ABA, making him the last of a league, the last of a decade and the last of a team, technically three teams if you count the two he played for in the ABA as well. (Utah Stars and Spirits of St. Louis)

Last player active from the 1980s: Clifford Robinson
I actually had to look this stat up, I didn't know...Clifford Robinson played in the NBA from 1989-2007, ending his career with the New Jersey Nets. 

Last Washington Bullet: Juwan Howard
The franchise currently known as the Wizards had long been known as the Bullets. Howard, who played for the Bullets for the first three years of his career (and several more after the name change) concluded his career with the Heat in 2012-13. 

Last Kansas City King: Otis Thorpe
Otis Thorpe, who concluded his career at the end of the 2000-01 season, was a rookie with the Kings in their last season in Kansas City, in 1984-85. He is also the only player to have played a game for both Kansas City and either of the Canadian teams, spending some time with the Grizzlies. 

On that topic: Last Vancouver Grizzlies player: Mike Bibby
Bibby, who was also part of the 1998 draft with Vince Carter, was the last player to have played for the Grizzlies while they were in Vancouver, when his career ended with the Knicks at the conclusion of the 2011-12 season. However, there is one caveat to that. J.R. Henderson, who played with the Grizzlies in 1998-99, is still active in Japan, at age 43, now known as J.R. Sakuragi! He reportedly has no intention of returning to the NBA, but he is technically still an active player. 

Last Charlotte Hornets version 1: Three-way Tie
Baron Davis, Jamaal Magloire and Brad Miller all finished their careers at the conclusion of the 2011-12 season. Davis was teammates with Bibby on the Knicks, while Miller was in Minnesota. Magloire finished with the Raptors, fitting as he is a Canadian. The original Hornets moved to New Orleans at the conclusion of the 2001-02 season, and are NOT the current team, regardless of how the NBA counts them. 

Last Seattle SuperSonics player: Kevin Durant
There is still much hurt about the Sonics becoming the Thunder, and there is hope they may be restarted some day - but for now, Kevin Durant, who was a rookie in the Sonics' final season, is the last Sonic standing. 

There are still multiple active players from the New Jersey Nets (last used 2011-12) and Charlotte Bobcats (2013-14) so it is unknown which player will be the last for each of those teams. The Nets are down to 2 active players (Brook Lopez and Anthony Morrow) so the time is coming fairly soon when we will know. 

In every instance in this post, I have posted the last career-issue card (or one from the season if I have more than one) for each player. Or at least, last one scanned. I believe I have later cards of both Bibby and Magloire but they await scans. 

Although this posts focuses on the Lasts, it's also a first...it's the first post I've created on the new Blogger interface. They made it needlessly complicated, but I do like being able to make scans larger without having to go fullsize, so it's not totally bad. Depending on how this post looks on my tablet, I may play around with the sizing for future posts. 

12 comments:

  1. Nice set of sunset cards (Nick the Dime Box King's term for the last cards of players during their playing careers) with a NBA twist.

    I've written a few posts with the new blogger interface too, it's gonna take some getting used to. I've found importing pictures tricky because it keeps importing the pictures into places I don't want them to go. Also I do type in HTML view on occasion and it's needlessly complicated there too.

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    1. I haven't encountered that yet but the tagging is now really a pain. I only type on the actual computer and usually put the pictures in first, perhaps that plays a role.

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  2. A shame Vince Carter didn't get those last few games in due to the COVID situation, but his time in Toronto was magical and really provided a love for the team. The first few years, they were new and Damon Stoudamire was "enough" - but Vince really drove the growth and love for the team in the late 90s.

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    1. He's still the first player I think of when I think of the Raptors to be honest.

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  3. Robert Parrish is the last active player of the 1970s. He got a ring on Jordan Bulls in 1997. The last player from the 1980s is tricky. Kevin Willis played his last regular season game on 4/18/97 and Clifford Robinson played his last regular season game 4/16/97. However, Robinson played in 4 playoff games that year, where Willis though active did not get into a game. If we go regular Season its Willis if playoffs its Robinson.

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    1. You're absolutely right! Don't know how I forgot that he played until 1997, especially as I was looking at his folder only a couple of weeks ago. In this case I am going with last NBA game, regular or playoffs.

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  4. If the Seattle SuperSonics return to the NBA, I'd probably give basketball another chance and root for them.

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    1. There is some talk... probably just wishful thinking, but maybe...that the NBA and the other owners may be more willing to expand because of the Corona virus. The thought being that the expansion fee (expected to be at least 5 million) would offset some of the losses from the lost games and lack of ticket sales for the games being played now.

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  5. Great read! I was a fan of Vince, just wished he could have stayed with one team his whole career. He bounced around a lot at the end. He to me will always be a raptor no doubt

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    1. I wish he had been on better teams at the end of the his career, but he chose them so he could teach younger players and play. Can't fault him for that.

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  6. That is crazy about Vince Carter. Didn't know he lasted so long. And what a crummy way to end a career too!

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    1. Yeah, but it was a nice send off moment. Both teams in the last game knew the season was going to be stopped, so they allowed him to end an already decided game and his career with an uncontested three.

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