Tracy McGrady’s recent season ending and likely career ending (at least with the Houston Rockets as far as most are concerned) surgery has jogged a few memories about some terrible endings to superstars that once flew amongst the clouds. Why must so many sports icons ruin their careers by playing longer than they should or get involved with drugs? There are some NBA stars that have fallen so far from such a high pedestal that their names are synonymous with failure. There is no better poster child for the superstar NBA who threw everything away than Shawn Kemp.
Shawn Kemp went straight from high school to the pros (well he was kicked out of a few colleges before playing a game), setting a precedent for the rash of high schoolers making the big leap like Tracy McGrady, Kobe and Jermaine O’ Neal. Kemp, along with assistance from point guard Gary “The Glove” Payton, rained dunks and posterized opponents for the better part of the 1990s. Many considered Kemp the best power forward during the 1990s, culminating in a Finals appearance and loss against the 70 win Jordan led Chicago Bulls in 1996.
A contract dispute with Sonics management and jealously over teammate Jim McIlvaine’s higher salary despite hit back up status forced a three way trade between the Sonics, Milwaukee Bucks and Cleveland Cavaliers. Kemp averaged career highs in points during a three year tenure Cleveland, but his weight problems caused concern and Cleveland traded Kemp to Portland. It was at Portland that Kemp’s drug and alcohol problems would get the better of him and the Trailblazers would cut their losses with Kemp in 2002 as a disappointment to everyone. Kemp would play one year for the Orlando Magic before the NBA had enough of his substance abuse, leaving a disgraced superstar who kids once looked up to for inspiration.
In addition to his disastrous deluge into drug and alcohol abuse, Kemp also tarnished the good name of the NBA by fathering a reported seven children out of wedlock that he knows about. Although many NBA players such as John Lucas and Lewis of the 1980s Houston Rockets had run ins with the rapid rise in popularity of cocaine during the 70s and 80s, few superstars have disappointed at the Kemp did. Legend has it that Kemp would dunk so hard sparks would fly the chain net, but really all he sparked was a crack pipe. So remember Rockets fans, although the Olajuwon and McGrady eras have ended on unpleasant notes at least their disgraces are limited merely to their own careers!
Visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shawn_Kemp for more information on Shawn Kemp