With the retirement of both Yao Ming and Brandon Roy in 2011, we now have two new additions to a list of players that lost out on greatness due to nagging injuries. The perennial All-Stars listed below were at superstardom or on the cusp of superstardom leaving us to wonder how far their limits truly were.
Point Guard: Penny Hardaway
Career Highlights: 4-time NBA All-star, 2-time All-NBA First team
Best Regular Season Average: 20.9 points, 7.2 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 1.7 steals
At an unconventional 6’8, Hardaway was likened to Magic Johnson because like Magic, he had the size and strength of a forward but flourished as a guard. The pairing of Penny and Shaq in Orlando—although unproven and young—obliterated teams with their devastating pick and roll offense. The newly formed duo guided the Orlando Magic to its first playoff berth and 50-win season in 1994. When Shaq left for Los Angeles in free agency, Penny had a devastating knee injury that severely diminished his exceptional quickness and athleticism. Since then Penny bounced from the Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, and Miami Heat—nowhere near the player he once was retired in 2007.