It’s easy to take some guys like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant for granted, if only because we have seen them play so much over the last decade-plus that it just became a given that they’d be on the court every night showing off their talents. However, as any athlete can attest, simply being healthy is a skill in and of itself, and simply staying on the court can be a challenge for even the best players.

Someone like birthday boy Brandon Roy showed that he could be one of the best players in the NBA, only for his body to betray him and bring a premature end to his effectiveness on the floor. It is especially cruel to see such talent cut down simply by chance, but it seems like every generation of NBA players has one or two of these guys. The 1970s had Bill Walton. The 1980s had Ralph Sampson. The 1990s had Grant Hill. The 2000s had Roy. The clubhouse leader for the 2010s has to be Greg Oden.

All those guys—and so many more—showed All-Star level talent, and some even contributed to championship teams and enjoyed Hall of Fame careers. However, whenever they’re discussed, there is no avoiding talking about their inability to simply keep healthy. Could Walton have been one of the 10 best players ever? Would Oden have been an a star? We ask all these questions and more as we take a look at A History of NBA Careers Ruined by Injury.

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