There was a time when most players in nearly every pro sport would spend their entire careers with one team. Clearly, we’re not living in those days anymore. Most of the top NBA players nowadays, from LeBron James to Kevin Durant to James Harden to Kawhi Leonard have all played with multiple teams long before their careers are over. To be fair, some of today’s current stars have a chance to stay with one team. But until we know for sure, let’s take a look back at some of the NBA’s all-time greats who only wore one jersey their entire career.
Reggie Miller, Pacers
In a way, you have to feel bad for Miller, who spent his whole career in Indiana and rarely had much help around him. Mostly on his own, he carried the Pacers to the Eastern Conference Finals six times and the NBA Finals once. Miller was an all-star five times, although he probably should have been a viable MVP candidate a few times as well because of how vital he was to Indiana’s success.
John Stockton, Jazz
Unlike his longtime running mate Karl Malone, Stockton chose to spend his entire career with Utah, playing all 19 seasons with the Jazz. That’s a long time to be hanging out in Salt Lake City. Stockton helped the Jazz make the playoffs in all 19 of his seasons while leading the NBA in assists for nine straight years, including a league-record 14.5 assists per game during the 1989-90 season. He was a 10-time all-star and arguably the best point guard of his generation, doing it all for the Jazz.
Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks
Nowitzki spent the first 20 years of his life in his native Germany and the next 20 years in Dallas. He’s the gold standard for loyalty, playing all 21 of his NBA seasons with the Mavericks. It wasn’t always easy for him, especially in the beginning. But Nowitzki ultimately became one of the league’s best players, going to 14 All-Star Games and winning MVP honors in 2007. Most importantly, all of those years of work paid off when he led the Mavericks to the NBA title in 2011.
Tim Duncan, Spurs
The Spurs made Duncan the first overall pick in the 1997 Draft, and he repaid San Antonio with 19 great seasons. Duncan might be the most steady and consistent player in NBA history, so it’s not surprising that he spent his entire career with the same team. Of course, it helps that he was the centerpiece for a franchise that he helped to win five NBA titles with the first and last separated by 15 years. Duncan also won MVP twice and collected countless other honors during his amazing career.
Kobe Bryant, Lakers
He may have had two different jersey numbers, but the Black Mamba only had one team. Technically, he was drafted by the Hornets, although the trade sending Bryant to L.A. had already been arranged, so it was the Lakers who told the Hornets to draft him. Barely 18 when he played his first pro game, Bryant put on a show for Lakers fans for the next 20 years, winning MVP twice and helping the team capture five NBA titles along the way.