SACRAMENTO, CA, September 22, 2008 ---- Sacramento Kings forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim today announced his retirement from the NBA as a player due to a reoccurring knee injury.
“First of all, on behalf of the entire organization I want to thank Shareef for his contribution to the Kings and NBA both on and off the court,” said Kings’ President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie. “He has had an exemplary career as a player and citizen. It is unfortunate for any productive career to be felled by injury. However, no one can ever doubt Shareef’s effort, commitment or desire to excel. It is our intention to find a new role for Shareef with the organization as he begins the next phase of his professional life.”
Abdur-Rahim enjoyed 12 seasons in the NBA with four different teams (Vancouver 1996-97 to 2000-01, Atlanta 2001-02 to 2003-04, Portland 2003-04 to 2004-05 and Sacramento 2005-06 to 2007-08), amassing career averages of 18.1 points (.452 FGs, .297 3FGs, .810 FTs), 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game through 830 outings. His most productive season, statistically, occurred during the 1998-99 campaign in Vancouver when he averaged 23.0 points (.432 FGs, .306 3FGs, .841 FTs), 7.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game through 50 contests (NBA Lockout season). The following season (1999-00), Abdur-Rahim averaged double figures in both points (20.3) and rebounds (10.1) per game, in which he played in all 82 contests for the Grizzlies.
“I’ve been in a situation where I’ve been trying to get healthy over the last year and a half,” explained Abdur-Rahim. “I came to grips with the fact that, health-wise, I won’t be able to get back to the condition and level that is needed to play in the NBA. My right knee has become arthritic over the years and is to the point where it won’t allow me do the things and play at the level in which I’m accustomed to playing. As tough as it is to come to grips with, it’s the reality.”
Abdur-Rahim was a member of the gold-medal winning United States Olympic team in 2000 while still with the Vancouver Grizzlies. He was selected to the Eastern Conference NBA All-Star Team where he scored nine points in 21 minutes as a member of the Atlanta Hawks in 2002.
“Regarding my career, I’ve been really blessed and fortunate,” said Abdur-Rahim. “I’m thankful that I had basketball and was able to play in the NBA. There aren’t a lot of people who actually get to do what they grow up dreaming about doing. I’ve had that opportunity and I’m really thankful for that. I’m also thankful for the coaches, trainers, owners, front office people and friends I’ve made through my time in the NBA. It was a tough decision, but in no way am I bitter. I’m just really thankful and happy that I was given the opportunity to play in the NBA.”
On December 28, 2002, Abdur-Rahim became the sixth-youngest player in NBA history to reach the 10,000-point plateau when he scored 18 points at Washington at age 26, trailing only Kobe Bryant, Bob McAdoo, Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with that distinction. He scored a career-high 50 points (including a career-high 21 field goals made) versus Detroit on November 23, 2001, becoming the first Hawks player to hit that mark since Dominique Wilkins poured in 52 points in 1991.
Selected by the Vancouver Grizzlies (now Memphis) as an undergraduate out of California with the third pick of the 1996 NBA Draft, Abdur-Rahim has a long-standing history of community service involvement. He was named by The Sporting News as the NBA’s Number 1 Good Guy for 2004 after funding the Reef House in Atlanta through his Atlanta-based Future Foundation with the purpose of assisting at-risk and underprivileged youth.
Sucks. He was such a great talent in college and in his early years with the Grizzlies, it's a shame that injuries took control of his career.