Best Career Finales in NBA History

There’s no better way to end your career in the NBA than with a great performance. While most great players tend to underwhelm during their NBA swan songs, others deliver a vintage performance that oftentimes reminds basketball fans of their greatness. These seven players would end their playing careers in style, with career finales that leave fans everywhere wanting more.

Michael Jordan, 2003

Michael Jordan played his career finale against the Philadelphia 76ers, during his stint with the Washington Wizards. While the Wizards lost 107-87, Jordan put up a respectable performance with 15 points, four rebounds, and four assists. His 15 points were the second-highest total on the team, trailing behind Kwame Brown’s 17.

Tim Duncan, 2016

Tim Duncan would cap his career in the 2016 Western Conference Finals when the San Antonio Spurs played the Oklahoma City Thunder. For the most part, Duncan was a non-factor during the series, having never scored more than eight points. But in the final game, he would score 19 points, to go along with five rebounds and a block.

Dirk Nowitzki, 2019

Dirk Nowitzki played the Spurs at AT&T Center in his last NBA game, finishing with a solid performance. He would finish the game with a double-double, scoring 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. It was only his first double-double of the season. Nowitzki nailed an 18-foot jumper with 46 seconds left in the game, as the San Antonio crowd cheered on for the German 7-footer. The 18-footer was symbolic of Nowitzki’s career – one truly deserving of Hall-of-Fame honors.

Dwayne Wade, 2019

Dwyane Wade had a sensational performance in his last home game with the Miami Heat, scoring 30 points. He would then follow that up with a triple-double in the final game of his career.  Playing against the Brooklyn Nets in Brooklyn, in only his second start, Wade tallied 20 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 rebounds – doing it in only three quarters.

Reggie Miller, 2005

Although his final season was marred by the infamous Malice at the Palace, Miller knew how to end his Hall-of-Fame career in style. His last NBA game occurred in the 2005 Eastern Conference semifinals, with the Indiana Pacers squaring off against the Detroit Pistons. Miller led the team with 27 points, making 11 out of 16 field goals and nailing four three-pointers.

David Robinson, 2003

David Robinson’s last game took place in the 2003 NBA Finals, with the Spurs squaring off against the New Jersey Nets. The first overall pick in the 1987 draft had a double-double performance, with 13 points and 17 rebounds. The Spurs would defeat the Nets, 88-77, as Robinson capped off his career with his second NBA title.

Kobe Bryant, 2016

Kobe Bryant’s last game at Staples Centers was one of the most memorable performances in NBA history. Against the Utah Jazz, Kobe scored 60 points as he practically carried the Los Angeles Lakers on his back. 38 of his points came in the second half, with 23 scored in the fourth quarter alone. When the Lakers were down by ten with 3:20 left in the game, Kobe scored 15 straight points to put his team back in the lead. He would lead his team to a 101-94 victory, capping off a legendary career.

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