Sunday , Dec , 06 , 2009 Oly Sandor

NBA superstars who never should’ve left their signature team: Hakeem Olajuwon, Allen Iverson, Karl Malone, Pat Ewing, and Michael Jordan

On Monday, three years after their nasty divorce, Iverson will again don a Philadelphia jersey. He has come home. He has come full circle. And in an ideal world, he never would have been traded to the Denver Nuggets. This sets the table perfectly for ‘Listed’. In this edition of our popular feature, HoopsVibe The Blog is naming off five modern NBA superstars, who never should have left their signature team …

NBA superstars who never should've left their signature team: Hakeem Olajuwon, Allen Iverson, Karl Malone, Pat Ewing, and Michael JordanHoopsVibe The Blog regularly drops a basketball related list for fans to weigh-in on. We call it ‘Listed’ …

It would be nice if more players started and finished their careers with one team.

However, the NBA is a results orientated business, driven by salary caps, expiring contracts, and financial flexibility, so changing team – even for superstars who forge emotional connections and deep bonds with fans – is often inevitable.

Late last week, for once, fans saw the other side of the equation when superstar Allen Iverson expressed his emotions about leaving and then returning to the franchise he loved, the Philadelphia 76ers.

For a moment, forget Iverson’s considerable baggage. And also forget Comcast‘s, the company who owns the 76ers, reasons for signing him. It was refreshing to see a player speak openly and honestly about what a franchise meant to him.

On Monday, three years after their nasty divorce, Iverson will again don a Philadelphia jersey. He has come home. He has come full circle. And in an ideal world, he never would have been traded to the Denver Nuggets. 

This sets the table perfectly for ‘Listed’. In this edition of our popular feature, HoopsVibe The Blog is naming five modern NBA superstars, who never should have left their signature team. As usual, read the post and tell us your thoughts in the comment box below. 

Honorable Mention:

#7) Gary Payton … Seattle SuperSonics

Why: Sure, Payton won a well deserved NBA Title with the Miami Heat, but ‘The Glove’ leaving Seattle was the first step in the Sonics leaving Seattle.

(Gary, can I get an amen?)

#6) Dominique Wilkins … Atlanta Hawks

Why: For years, ‘The Human Highlight Film’ was synonymous with ‘The ATL’. After the two parted ways, Wilkins was never the same player, while the Hawks became the league laughingstock until getting resurrected by the current group.

(Yes, Wilkins held his own against Larry ‘The Legend’ Bird in that now infamous playoff duel.)

(And yes, some say Wilkins, not Michael Jordan, deserved to win the 1988 Slam Dunk Contest in Chicago.) 

#5) Hakeem Olajuwon … Houston Rockets

Why: In Houston, he was ‘The Dream’ winning two NBA Titles and redefining the center position. In Toronto, he was ‘The Nightmare’.   

(The Spanish commentators are probably remarking how Gasol is lighting up an injured and old Olajuwon.)

#4) Allen Iverson … Philadelphia 76ers

Why: ‘The Answer’ was the answer for Philly. Hopefully, their much discussed reconciliation works out and fans forget his failed flings with the Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, and Memphis Grizzlies.

(‘We talkin’ about Practice’ has been replaced by …)

( … tears, feelings, and emotions. Iverson and the Philadelphia  76ers should get Dr. Phil on speed dial.)


#3) Karl Malone … Utah Jazz


Why:
In Salt Lake City, he became ‘The Mailman’ and part of the game’s greatest one-two punch with point guard John Stockton. However, in Los Angeles, Malone was part of the Lakers regressing into a soap opera and falling short in the NBA Finals against the Detroit Pistons.

 (In Los Angeles, Malone ‘indubitably’ became part of the sideshow known as Shaq and ‘The Super Lakers’.)

#2) Patrick Ewing  … New York Knicks

Why: Even though he never won an NBA title for the NYC, Ewing is still a legend and, perhaps, the greatest Knick of all time. His time with the Seattle Supersonics and Orlando Magic was not so legendary, though.

(Nothing but love from Madison Square Gardens and the Mecca of basketball, New York City, except when a fan accuses Ewing of being drunk at his own jersey retirement ceremony.)

#1) Michael Jordan … Chicago Bulls

Why: In one hundred years, fans will still reflect on Jordan’s achievements with the Chicago Bulls. And hopefully, they’ll forget those two oh-so forgettable years with the Washington Wizards, even if the plan was hatched by Jordan, the minority owner and part time executive.  

(Offensive foul aside, it should have ended with his NBA Title winning jump shot over Bryon Russell.)

(Instead, it ended with a 40 year old Jordan getting blown out by Iverson and the 76ers. Credit Philly for showing love, though.) 

What NBA player do you think never should’ve left his signature team? Get at us in the comment box below and follow Oly on HoopsVibe and Twitter. Photo courtesy of thedanger23.