The 30 Best NBA Careers Ruined By Injury

08.07.13 5 years ago 12 Comments

Tracy McGrady

The NBA sees a lot of talent come in and out at a rapid pace. Some players make it and become legends, but others are not as fortunate. Throughout the history of the league, there have been players that have an unlimited amount of skill and potential, but constant injuries slow them down.

Here is a list of 30 current and former NBA players that suffered from career-altering or career-ending injuries. Some of the players on this list, at one point in their careers, reached a high level; others were expected to become stars, but deplorable circumstances took their careers along a different path.
Videos will be attached to show you how productive each player was before their injury.

Honorable Mention:
Bernard King (1977-1993)
The reason Bernard King is placed on the honorable mention list is simple. Yes, he did tear his ACL, and he lost a significant amount of the explosiveness that made him great, but he did make a comeback with the Washington Bullets and was able to improve his scoring output every year he was with them. He also made one final All-Star Game before he retired, and to top it all off, Bernard King was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

LaPhonso Ellis (1992-2003)
LaPhonso Ellis is not the most commonly known NBA player, but when he came into the league he had a solid season early on. Some NBA analysts said he had the potential to be one of the better forwards in the game. A stress fracture in his right knee kept him out of action for the larger part of his third season. After he attempted his comeback, it was clear Ellis had lost a step or two. Later in his career, a hernia and another knee injury stymied Ellis until he decided to retire in 2003.

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30. JONATHAN BENDER (1999-2010)
Bender is not a common name among NBA fans, but he certainly had potential. Standing at 7-0 and weighing 230 pounds, Bender was a rare athlete. He had the body of a center, but he moved like a wing player. It was always peculiar how he was able to maneuver himself around the rim, and then extend his game and knock down a three-point shot with such ease. His career took a turn for the worst after the 2001-2002 season. He was only able to play in 46 games the following year. The next season was significantly worse as he only played in 21 games. He did flash his potential in a few first-round games against Boston in the 2004 Playoffs, but later on his right knee troubles resulted in him being cut by the Pacers in 2006. Bender tried to make a return to basketball when the New York Knicks signed him to the league minimum contract in 2009, but this was also a quick stint.

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