Latest News, NBA / Mar 17, 2010 / 9:00 am

The 10 Luckiest Players in the NBA

Daniel Gibson (photo. Robert Seale)

One thing I’m going to miss this St. Patrick’s Day is staying up all night by force, not by choice. Last March 17, we were living literally right next door to an Irish pub; since then we’ve moved to a condo across the street and just out of earshot of the tragic karaoke renditions of “Sweet Caroline.”

For that, I’d say I’m lucky. But my kind of lucky isn’t close to NBA-player lucky; there are no eight-figure contracts involved when regular people get lucky. So on this St. Patrick’s Day, we have the 10 luckiest players in the NBA…

*** *** ***

JORDAN FARMAR — A career backup who, because he was lucky enough to get drafted by the Lakers, has a guest-starring role on the CBS cop drama “NUMB3RS.” If Farmar played for the Wolves or the Pacers, even if he was a starter, he wouldn’t be getting anywhere near a major-network TV show. Especially with those ears.

RICK FOX — See above. Plus he somehow roped Vanessa Williams into marrying and procreating with him.

DANIEL GIBSON — Just because I hate him for landing Keyshia Cole and knocking her up. Not that I was available at the time, but still … Gibson also has a pretty sweet deal on the court. All he has to do is knock down jump shots and be funny in the locker room, and he’ll end up winning a championship playing next to LeBron.

SHAWN MARION — I hate it when people say Steve Nash “made” Marion into an All-Star, as if Nash grabbed those 10-11 rebounds and guarded the best scorers in the League every night. But I can’t even deny that Marion has been extremely fortunate to have played the majority of his career with All-Star caliber point guards in Stephon Marbury, Nash and Jason Kidd. I wouldn’t go as far as saying Matrix owes large chunks of his salary to those guys, but he should at least buy them a drink on occasion.

SHAUN LIVINGSTON — How can somebody with Livingston’s history of injuries be considered lucky? Because at least he was born in the right era. Guys who came up before this age of medical science and procedures would’ve had their careers ended by the things that have happened to Livingston; that catastrophic knee injury in ’07 probably would have gotten your leg amputated not too long ago. On top of that, had Livingston come out of high school a couple years after he did, he would’ve had to go to college and may have gotten hurt before he had a chance to make Lottery-pick money.

TYLER HANSBROUGH — It appears he managed to squeeze everything he could out of his body and his ability just long enough to earn sainthood in Chapel Hill, N.C., and get a first-round guaranteed NBA contract … and then he fell apart. If Psycho T’s senior year at UNC had played out like his rookie year in Indiana, he probably wouldn’t have been drafted.

RANDOLPH MORRIS — From what I can tell, Morris basically has a job because he’s homeboys with Josh Smith. And getting to play/live in his native Atlanta, Morris doesn’t even have that far to travel if he gets waived.

JEROME JAMES — A handful of good playoff games plus money burning a hole in Isiah Thomas’ pocket equaled perhaps the worst NBA contract ever. Over these last three years of his five-year, $30 million deal, James has spent less time on NBA courts than the guy Jermaine O’Neal knocked out at The Palace. Not to mention James stumbled into this gig in the first place. As the story goes, he was a 7-foot non-basketball-playing teenager working at a grocery store when a college coach discovered him and convinced him to take up the game.

LEBRON JAMES & DWIGHT HOWARD (tie) — Powerball winners of the genetic lottery.

NATE ROBINSON — As my editor Pat Cassidy put it: “What other profession can you work in where you can act like a 6-year-old every day, never do anything your boss (coach) asks you to do, and not only do you get to keep your job, but you get rewarded by being sent to a much better company (Celtics)?” Nate’s my guy, but I don’t even have a comeback for that one.

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  • Coop

    Bryant is lucky the Hornets bent over for him in ’96

  • Charles

    That Nate statement is cold! LOL!

    I don”t understand the Keyshia Cole love Austiin? She aight, But she ain’t Beyonce fine. I guess it’s the hood appeal.

    Hell, every NBA player is a winner of the genetic lottery, at least they don’t have to go to the crappy jobs must of us endure every day. f*ck I gotta go! Here comes my boss! LOL!!

  • john

    why is tony parker not here?lol

  • jay

    Shelden Williams is the luckiest because he got Candace Parker knocked up. And by virtue of being married to her, that’s his license for still having a job.

  • karizmatic

    @ Charles

    I can’t front I got a serious thing for Keyshia Cole too.

    But I think Steve Kerr and Derek Fisher both belong on this list over LBJ and Dwight Howard, like Charles said every NBA player is a winner of genetic lottery. Dwight and LBJ are just at the top of that heap.

  • heavy d

    I second that Shelden Williams suggestion. He got the girl and the top 5 lottery money in spite of anyone who really watched him in college knowing that he didn’t have the hands to make it in the NBA. Billy Knight should never get another job evaluating basketball talent.

  • rell

    Since you are talking about retired players also what about Travis Knight. He got a 7 year contract because he played with Shaq. Luckeee (in a Napeleon Dynamite voice).

    I would replace Jordan Farmer on the list with Sasha Vujacic. If he wasn’t a Laker would he had the opportunity to date Sharporva. Also Mark Blount is lucky that he played for Boston under Danny Ainge because no other GM (beside Chris Wallace or Isaiah) would have given him a 6year $42million contract for only playing good for a half season.

    Also players like Tim Thomas, Kwame Brown, and Vin Baker are lucky for the word “Potential”. These players continued to get good contract because they had the potential to be good players.

  • Mike Mihalow

    You’re forgetting Marko Jaric.

  • Mike Mihalow

    Wait, is Marko Jaric even in the NBA anymore?

  • control

    “Over these last three years of his five-year, $30 million deal, James has spent less time on NBA courts than the guy Jermaine O’Neal knocked out at The Palace.” That is the best line I have heard in a LONG time, fucking great job.

    You forgot to add Jose Cauldron to Shawn Marion’s list of great point guards he played with! Haha.

  • RC

    Luck has nothing to do with skill or hard work. All the nba players who has skill and the endurance to play 82 games (with practices and workouts in between)every season earned their money and whatever level of fame or recognition they have. I guess the luckiest one on this list is Jerome James. I think NBA players who don’t appreciate or love the game shouldnt be in the league. Basketball is a passion for a lot of us and players like Jerome James treat it like a dead end 9-5 job. Not hating just saying.

  • Flip

    I was gonna mention Marko Jaric, too. Biggest snub on the list, but then I remembered that he’s playing for Real Madrid now… still, he deserves at least an honorable mention.

  • http://slcdunk.com AllThatJazz / Amar

    Okay, I hate Farmar too — but if you’re honest, you can agree that Rick Fox (canadian) is at least two standard deviations above Jordan in the “looks” department.

    Sasha seems pretty lucky too, a mix of what Boobie has, plus I think he’s dating some hot euro chick. (I don’t follow his life, so I don’t know which one)

    Unluckiest player? Big Dog Robinson — how do you avg. 21 and 9 in your rookie season and not win ROY? (Answer: by playing for the bucks)

  • davros

    At rell

    Harsh to call say Vin Baker had ‘potential’ as if he was a guy who was basically a scrub who never made good.

    I think Vin had a good 4 good years in Milwaukee before being traded to Seattle where he had 1 or 2 good years before he became an alcoholic. He had 4 all-star appearances in the good years

  • LakeShow84

    Trippin these 2 Lakers are way more luckier than Farmar.. i can see Farmar on TV, my EX used to gush over dude lol..

    Adam Morrison.. dude got a ring and played NO MINUTES that year lol..

    Sasha Vujacic.. Still has a job and is dating Maria Sharapova.. im more pissed on the still has a job tip..

  • LakeShow84

    And Kenyon Martin is lucky hes with Trina..

    Cuz damn dudes a douche.. Trina gives me the chills..


  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    You can add “and be as tall as a 6 year old” to the Nate Robinson description.

    Shaun Livingston has to be the luckiest. He keeps getting jobs in the League despite never doing anything. Nothing. He hasn’t improved his game since he was a junior in high school. Only in the NBA can a player make a career off being good in high school while never even getting close to reaching that potential that got him drafted in the first place.

    Vanessa Williams and Keysia Cole ain’t all that but Boobie and Fox lucky nevertheless.

  • james p

    Dont forget stephen marbury had that guranteed big money when he didnt play in N.Y.

    dan Gadzuric of the bucks makes good money to not play.

  • Chris

    How is Brian Scalabrine not the luckiest player in the nba? He even plays for the Celtics. I think the Collins twins definitely deserve mention too…

  • Ian

    marko jaric doesnt need to be in any basketball league to be considered lucky

  • Ian

    no idea who keisha cole is so i clicked that link to see her. my man that woman is f….in ugly

  • LakeShow84

    LMAO Ian

    I used to say some girl looked like Keyshia Cole and she got pissed at me..

    I think shes cute.. not something we’d turn our heads for if she was walkin by tho lol

  • http://Yahoo.com Haters

    What’s with all the hating on Keyshia Cole? Half of y’all woman probably couldn’t even compare so you can’t talk. Anyway congrats to DANIEL GIBSON and KEYHIA COLE

  • sh!tfaced

    I definitely second, third and fourth Tony Parker, Shelden, Marko Jaric, respectively… luckiest sons of a bitches…

  • Mark

    Based off strictly basketball, Rajon Rondo. Yeah he’s a good player, but you think he’d be this good without the mentoring (and mind you, co-existence) of Pierce, Allen, and KG?

    And any tall player in the league picking up checks just for being tall. The Shawn Bradley’s of the league, if you will.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Austin Burton

    “I used to say some girl looked like Keyshia Cole and she got pissed at me..”

    @LakeShow84 — That’s hilarious. I used to have a roommate who looked EXACTLY like Missy Elliot. I told her one time, not as an insult, and she looked crushed. But seriously, the girl looked EXACTLY like Missy.

  • http://dime eyes

    I nominate Chris Duhon. I don’t know why. He just seems really really lucky.

    Most owners & suits in the N.B.A. 1.Being rich enough to not care about the game & also being able to completely suck at what you do. 2.While not being able to be outbid or lose your job.

    Phil Jackson for having the luxury of coaching MJ,Pippen,Kukoc,Kobe,Shaq

    David Stern for being Stern

    Lebron for being literally the ChOSEN oNE. The Golden Child. LNBA. Lebron’s N.B.A.

  • Raj S

    Renaldo Balkman. He shouldn’t have been drafted to begin with. But for (one of) Isiah Thomas’s bad move, he would have NEVER played one game in the NBA.

  • Smitty313

    So youre assuming the Cavs will win a championship. Just like you did last season. 2010 is looking just like 09.

  • Ian

    lol austin can u blame her???

    lakeshow get the damn ps3 and the show10

    exaggerating a bit?? there is no hating i find her ugly and it was just me austin likes her and lakeshow said shes cute.

  • K Dizzle

    LMAO @ “no idea who keisha cole is so i clicked that link to see her. my man that woman is f….in ugly”
    I read this
    “On top of that, had Livingston come out of high school a couple years after he did, he would’ve had to go to college and may have gotten hurt before he had a chance to make Lottery-pick money.”
    and was wonderin has there EVER been a player who was nice in high school or college who was gonna be a first rounder and then got hurt and didn’t get the guarnteed money or maybe even drafted?
    Can’t think of any…

  • E

    jaric is the luckiest i seen dude play in some summer tournament he sucks his game is that of an average 8th grader

  • asmaticasiatic2

    keisha is aite, not sure if she’s wifey material, yung jeezy was smashing her before Boobie…If I was in the league I would wife a chick as close to untainted as possible…..

  • Mike Mihalow

    True that, Ian.
    As for Tony Parker, he has skill that’s deserving of his wife, so he shouldn’t be on this list.

  • Big Island

    I think Keisha has hit the skids. And in regards to asmatic, if I were in the league I wouldn’t get married at all. Even and ugly dude like me could smash a ton of ladies being on a team. Settle down afterwards.

  • Borgs

    Rashard Lewis. Massively overpaid and has Dwight Howard drawing his defender away and doing all of his dirty work.

  • Promoman

    The Nate Robinson statement & #28 are the best truths I’ve heard this week.

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    Rajon Rondo anyone?!?!?!? Now he’s legit, but he belongs on this list wayyyy ahead of Boobie Gibson. That Celtics team pretty much picked and chose who they wanted to win a championship with, and Rondo lucked out.

  • Tom

    Tyler Hansbrough being on the list is complete bs. He hasn’t had a rookie season, period. He’s been out a long time because he’s been on the injury list, which makes it really hard to criticize his game. That is the ONLY reason he hasn’t been playing. When he did play, he played hard and quickly became a fan favorite here in Indiana.