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5 Former Basketball Stars Who Might Actually Be Dead

nba-former-starsSports fans are unforgiving and terrible bastards. We forget about players as soon as they retire or start sucking at whatever it is they’re supposed to be good at. But sometimes stars literally just disappear from the face of the earth. And when they’re gone, we don’t necessarily miss them, we  just wish we knew what the hell they were up to. Are they working on a comeback? Are they doing low-budget porn just so they can put gas in their planes? Or are they dead?

Holy crap, now that I think about it, these people might actually be dead.

5. Allen Iverson

Who he was:

A 6-foot-tall wisp who had legs like a nerdy school girl with polio but still managed to be completely unstoppable for almost a decade.  In 2001 he averaged 31 points a game, won the MVP and willed a bunch of substandard YMCA castoffs to the NBA Finals. A star hasn’t carried such a poor supporting cast since Pamela Anderson’s boobs made Baywatch watchable.

Where he might be now:

If you play over 40 minutes a game your whole career the most likely destination for you when you’re over 35 is a wheelchair. But Iverson, with no legs, no athleticism, and no self-respect, was last seen going strong in Turkey in 2010. He was rumored to have returned to the states in January 2011 for calf surgery, which probably means he’s getting bionic legs and halfway to becoming a cyborg.

Chances he’s actually dead:

10%. Iverson is famous enough that if he died, we would have heard about. And I’m pretty sure cyborgs are immortal.

 

4. Joe Alexander

Who he was:

The reason that NBA general managers could be replaced with shit-throwing chimpanzees and nobody would know the difference. He had one good year at West Virginia in 2008 and blew up the draft combine with his raw athleticism, then was  taken 8th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks even though he didn’t actually know how to play basketball. In three years with three different teams, Alexander played in 67 games and averaged 4.2 points and 1.8 boards.

Where he might be now:

In July 2011 he signed with a three-word Russian team whose name consisted of 15 consonants and a picture of a man hitting a bear in the face with a bottle of vodka. In December of the same year, he left, presumably because he realized he was in freaking Russia.

Chances he’s actually dead:

25%. I’m not ruling this one out, because a curly-headed American playing basketball in Russia is the second most dangerous career decision you can make right behind playing for the Sacramento Kings.

 

3. Steve Francis

Who he was:

A bouncy, shoot-first point guard who took the league by storm in 2000, was broken down and washed up by 2005 and then was gone from the league for good two years later. Poor Stevie Franchise came and went so fast he didn’t even have enough time to get the Kleenex ready. Wilt Chamberlain’s condoms had a longer shelf life.

Where he might be now:

My nightmares. The Franchise’s career resembles Derrick Rose’s to such an alarming degree at this point that, as a Bulls fan, I’m beginning to wonder if Francis hasn’t just been wearing a goofy, blank-faced mask the last few years. Holy shit this is what Stevie looks like now? Nope, nevermind. Definitely not D-Rose.

Chances he’s actually dead:

55%. But if Francis’s downfall was a harbinger of Rose’s, you can up that to 100%, because I’ll find him and drown him in Rose’s Skittles swimming pool.

 

2. Adam Morrison

Who he was:

A mustachioed, crime-solving Marxist whose dazzling 2006 scoring battle with Duke’s JJ Redick was white people’s greatest sports achievement since Rocky knocked out Apollo Creed. Morrison led the nation with 28.1 points a game that year, then promptly cried all the talent out of his body when Gonzaga lost to UCLA in the NCAA Tournament.

Where he might be now:

On an operation table somewhere in Geneva getting the lug nuts changed out his neck, because Morrison’s body movements are so rigid and unnatural that he might actually be the real life Frankenstein. I’ve never seen a player almost tear his ACL jumping from the bench to give a teammate a high five, but Morrison did it every freaking time Kobe scored a basket in 2010, which means he’s either a bunch of reanimated limbs haphazardly taped together or the most unathletic great basketball player that ever lived.

Chances he’s actually dead:

90%. The good news is that he’s only one lightning bolt strike to the head from coming back.

 

1. Greg Oden

Who he was:

The next apex predator. Oden was supposed to be to basketball what the T-Rex was to the Jurassic period. He was so big and scary during high school and his one year at Ohio State that NBA frontcourt players were already starting to update their resumes. Then he got injured. When? What? Where? How? Nobody knows anymore. From 2007 to now, Oden accrued so many injuries that Grey’s Anatomy puts him in its writing credits. In six years, he’s played exactly one season’s worth of games.

Where he might be now:

Last summer Oden announced he would be sitting out the 2012-2013 season to focus on rehabbing injuries, which is like Kanye West setting up a press conference to tell everyone he’s going to be a douche bag. Apparently teams are interested in signing him for next year, a sentiment that will dissipate when they realize Oden is now just a brain in a glass jar.

Chances he’s actually dead:

99%. Even if Oden’s broken body is still functional, his soul died long ago. Seriously, that’s not a highlight video up there. It’s a eulogy. And it would be hilarious if it wasn’t so damn sad.

 

Erik is interning with us this summer and is the newest addition to the Bacon Sports team. He loves MMA, has actually received a scar in a bar fight, and once partied with the Milwaukee Bucks. You can follow him on Twitter @erikschmidtmu.

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