NBA

NBA Legends in Unfamiliar Jerseys

May 10, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Tracy McGrady (1) is guarded by Boston Celtics shooting guard Ray Allen (20) during the third quarter of game six in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

For most die-hard basketball fans, we have a pretty solid understanding of which teams our favorite NBA stars played on. It’s not too hard to keep track of. However, some go unnoticed. Sometimes it’s just for such a short stint that we don’t even hear about it. Sometimes players move around a lot towards the end of their career when they might be less relevant. Especially when they spend a long career with one team, it can be hard to associate them with anything else. This is why some jerseys just don’t look right on certain players. Here are three NBA legends who played for teams that you may not have heard about. And even if you did know, sometimes it can still feel strange to see these players in such unfamiliar jerseys.

Paul Pierce, Washington Wizards

31 January 2015: Washington Wizards forward Paul Pierce (34) reacts after making a three point shot to tie the game at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. where the Toronto Raptors defeated the Washington Wizards, 120-116 in overtime
Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

When you think Paul Pierce, you think of the Boston Celtics. It’s that simple. Pierce is a legend in Boston, and he always will be. Drafted in 1998, Pierce played 15 seasons for the Celtics. His 2008 Championship solidified his legacy throughout the city.

However, Pierce had a career after the Celtics, albeit not a very good one. When he was traded to the Nets in 2013, many thought that Brooklyn had formed the next super team. That couldn’t have been further from the case, as it was the beginning of the end for Pierce’s career.

Pierce left the NBA on a high note. He played his last season with the Clippers, and in his last game in Boston, he hit a three in the final seconds for a movie-like ending, generating a standing ovation from the Boston crowd. Yet what many don’t know is that in between his time with the Nets and Clippers, Pierce played a single season with the Washington Wizards. He averaged 12 points for the year.

Hakeem Olajuwon, Toronto Raptors

RAPTORS02--12/02/01----Hakeem Olajuwon chases a loose ball on the floor with Antione Walker. The Toronto Raptors had a rough afternoon versus the Boston Celtics in Toronto, December 2, 2001. The Raptors lost 85-69. The raptors only scored nine points in the fourth quarter and shot 31.8 percent from the field.
Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Hakeem Olajuwon is one of the best big men in NBA history. He was drafted by the Houston Rockets in 1984, and he was impactful instantly. In just his first season in the NBA, Olajuwon averaged 20 points, 12 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks. As a rookie. His career only picked up from there, and he would put together a Hall of Fame worthy resume.

We know Hakeem as a member of the Houston Rockets. He played 17 seasons there, so we have no reason to think otherwise.

Yet, what many don’t know is that after Olajuon’s 17 years with the same team, he was traded to the Toronto Raptors, where he would play his last season in the NBA. In the single year with the Raptors, Hakeem averaged 7 points, 6 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks.

Tracy McGrady, Atlanta Hawks

May 10, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Tracy McGrady (1) is guarded by Boston Celtics shooting guard Ray Allen (20) during the third quarter of game six in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Tracy McGrady is a certified NBA legend. His prime days on the Magic and Rockets were second to none. At his best, in the mid to late 2000s, McGrady was competing right up there with LeBron and Kobe. However, after the turn of the decade, Tracy had a couple of mediocre years when it was clear he had lost his once elite athleticism. In his final year in the NBA, McGrady played a single season for the Atlanta Hawks. He averaged 5 points per game.

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