When we talk about athletes in any sport, we look at their speed, their power, their unique skill set, their dominance and their attitude both on and off the court. When Athletes play at such a high level, keeping up with all the rapid changes in the pace of the game and all the new changes that are made in the rules of the game is one challenge for all of them. Another major challenge for Sports people that is often overlooked is staying healthy and staying fit. Staying healthy may mean different things to different players, but sports is highly demanding and it may take a toll on the body, players dive for the ball, jump to grab rebounds, they need stamina to run around, play offense and get back in time to play defense and stay alert for the entire 48 minutes. Although there is a lot of advancements and improvements in sports medicine and sports rehab, sometimes continuous injuries can just prove to be too much for a player to handle. This may lead to an early retirement. Listed below are the top three NBA Careers that were severely impacted by injuries.
1) Tracy McGrady:
Tracy McGrady(T-Mac) standing at 6 feet 8 inches, 210 pounds was a treat to watch, his skill set was nearly unmatched. T-Mac had the skills to rip past the opponents, he had the defense and he had the basketball IQ to initiate brilliant plays and assist players, he had the athleticism to grab the rebounds on both ends of the court. Tracy McGrady was also a brilliant clutch player; we will never forget the time when he closed down the San Antonio Spurs with his 13 points in 35 seconds. Another iconic move that T-Mac would pull off so smoothly that would leave the defense stunned was when he would toss the ball of the backboard catch the ball and dunk.
Tracy McGrady was turning into an unstoppable player; people were wondering if there was anything that he couldn’t do. Kobe Bryant even called Tracy McGrady one of his toughest opponents ever. Tracy McGrady’s Career was cut short because of his Back Injury, the injuries starting in the 2005-06 season. In 2008, during the playoffs T-Mac had to get painkilling injections and he even had to get some fluid drained from his shoulders and knees so that he could play. From being the man that averaged 32 points in one of his seasons to averaging just 8 points a game in his last 5 seasons. We all know that with his skills and potential, Tracy McGrady would have left a much larger impact in the game if not for these injuries. He could’ve even become the best Shooting Guard of all time.
2) Brandon Roy:
Brandon Roy was another great Shooting Guard with so much potential and talent. Brandon Roy won the Rookie Of The Year (ROTY) award in the year 2008 and it was nearly an unanimous vote. He played with the Portland Trail Blazers for most of his career and in his last season (2012-13) got traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves but only played 5 games for them. Even through all the injuries, he managed to average a field goal percentage of 45.9% which is good and overall, his average points per game was 18.8, this would’ve easily been much closer to 30 if it weren’t for the injuries. Brandon Roy was a 3 time All-star, Kobe Bryant even said the Brandon Roy was the hardest player to guard in the Western Conference and Brandon Roy finished 9th in the Most Valuable Player rankings (MVP).
Unfortunately, in the 2008 season his knees started giving out and Brandon Roy got a piece of his Cartilage removed which came back to hurt him throughout his career. When he injured his Meniscus, his knees found it hard to support his as he didn’t have enough Cartilage now. He had to get surgery done on both of his knees and after just 5 seasons in the league he announced his retirement in 2011, however, he tried making a comeback into the NBA with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2012 but got injured in the preseason. It was hard to see Brandon Roy leave the league after just 5 seasons, he had a lot more to give to the game and the team for which he played.
3) Yao Ming:
Yao Ming was a beast as a center, he is 7 feet 6 inches, that’s tall enough to tower over any other NBA player, considering that the rim is 10 feet from the ground all Yao Ming had to do was hop in order to dunk the ball. He made it look so easy. He stayed with the Houston Rockets throughout his career and an 8 time All-star. When Yao Ming played in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), he broke his foot and this took around 4-6 inches off his vertical.
In the NBA, Yao Ming would average close to 25 points a game, but similar to Tracy McGrady, from the 2005-06 season onward Yao Ming started having injury troubles and missed games that season due to a Toe injury. In the following season Yao Ming broke his knee, in the season following that he had a stress fracture in his left foot. Before Yao Ming injured his Knee, he was averaging 27 points a game which is phenomenal for any player in the NBA. Dr. Shaquille O’Neal even said that if it weren’t for all those injuries Yao Ming had what it takes to become a top 5 center of all time.