Signing a two-year contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant has a chance to make it 20 seasons with one NBA team, which will be an NBA record for a player on just one team. There are Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki, both playing over 15 years on the same team as well, the only three among active players, but Bryant has a slight lead over them.
Tim Duncan’s former partner in crime, David Robinson, is also one of the few players to spend at least 14 NBA season on just one NBA franchise, joined by other legends like Hal Greer, John Havlicek, John Stockton, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Reggie Miller.
David Robinson (San Antonio Spurs) – 14 Seasons
The Admiral joined the San Antonio Spurs in 1989, two years after being the number one pick of the NBA draft. Navy duties, you know. The rookie of the year in 1990, Robinson did everything possible with the Spurs except reach the NBA finals, until one Tim Duncan came along. How did that happen? Robinson missed most of the 1996-1997 season with an injury, allowing the Spurs to be a lottery team for the first time since he joined the team, landing them Duncan with the number one pick. The Spurs won two NBA titles with the twin towers (1999, 2003), with Robinson retiring after the second title. He ended his career with an MVP award, a DPOY in 1992, 10 All-Star selections and four All-NBA first team selections.
Joe Dumars (Detroit Pistons) – 14 Seasons
The current general manager was the less heralded half of the Bad Boy Pistons’ backcourt next to Isiah Thomas, but was just as important during their successful days in the late 1980’s, reaching three NBA finals and winning two of them. He played for the Pistons from 1985 to 1999. Dumars won the Finals MVP in 1989 after they beat the Los Angeles Lakers, averaging 27.3 points per game in the series sweep. He was a six-time All Star and one of the best defenders in the league, making four All-Defensive first teams.
Jerry West (Los Angeles Lakers) – 14 Seasons
The Logo played for the Los Angeles Lakers from 1960 to 1974, just as they moved from Minneapolis. The reached nine NBA finals, winning only one of them (in 1972), and is the last player to win a Finals MVP despite being on the losing side (1969). He holds the record for a scoring average during a playoff series (46.3). He averaged 27 points per game during his career, making 14 All-Star games and selected 10 times to the All-NBA first team.
Elgin Baylor (Minneapolis / Los Angeles Lakers) – 14 Seasons
Baylor played for the Lakers from 1958 to 1971, retiring early in the season of their first championship in Los Angeles after so many years of losing to the Celtics. The prototype for the modern day Small Forward, Baylor made 11 All-Star games and made 10 All-NBA first teams. He finished his career averaging 27.4 points and 13.5 rebounds per game, making a bad name for himself post-retirement as the Vice President of Basketball operations with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Hal Greer (Syracuse Nationals / Philadelphia 76ers) – 15 Seasons
There’s a 1-and-a-half-mile stretch of road in Huntington, West Virginia named after him for his success during his days with Marshall in the 1950’s. He played for the Nationals and the Sixers from 1958 to 1973, helping Philly win the NBA title in 1967, averaging 22 points per game and being the driving force behind Wilt Chamberlain, who usually took most of the credit those days. Greer was a 10-time All-Star and is the All-time leader for the 76ers in points scored and games played.
Dolph Schayes (Syracuse Nationals / Philadelphia 76ers) – 15 Seasons
One of the league’s pioneers, Shcayes played for the Nationals – Sixers from 1949 to 1964, retiring after the first year in Philadelphia. He won the NBA title in 1955, and retired with 12 NBA All-Star games and 6 All-NBA first team selections. During his 15-year career, he made the playoffs 14 times. He was actually drafted by both the New York Knicks in the 1948 BAA Draft and by the Tri-Cities Blackhawks in the NBL draft. The Blackhawks traded him to the Nationals, with the salary offered to him making him choose Syracuse.
Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks) – 16 Seasons
Nowitzki has just started his 16th NBA season with the Dallas Mavericks, hoping to erase the disappointment of missing the playoffs last year, something that has rarely happened since he joined the team. Nowitzki was the 9th overall pick in the 1998 draft, but was traded to the Bucks for Robert Traylor. Nowitzki has gone on to set almost every possible record for the franchise, leading the team to the NBA championship in 2011, winning the Finals MVP. He also has one regular season MVP from 2007, and has made 11 All-Star games and four All-NBA first teams.
John Havlicek (Boston Celtics) – 16 Seasons
A teammate to Jerry Lucas at Ohio State, Hondo went on to win 8 NBA championships with the Boston Celtics during his time with the team (1962-1978), including twice during the post Bill Russell years of the 1970’s. He won the Finals MVP in 1974, making 13 All-Star games, 4 All-NBA first teams and 5 All-Defensive first team selections during his career, averaging 20.8 points per game.
Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs) – 17 Seasons
A huge reason the Spurs are the most successful sports franchise for close to two decades is Tim Duncan joining the group in 1997, winning four NBA titles along the way. He had a huge “revival” season in 2012-2013, averaging 17.8 points per game, making his fifth NBA finals, losing to the Miami Heat. He is a two-time NBA MVP and three-time Finals MVP, making 14 All-Star games, 10 All-NBA first teams and 8 All-Defensive first teams.
Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers) – 18 Seasons
Kobe Bryant, considering the career he’s had, might be considered a huge draft steal at 13th, traded by the Charlotte Hornets to the Los Angeles Lakers, and the rest is history. The most successful prep-to-pro player in NBA history (not the best though), Bryant is a one-time MVP, two-time Finals MVP, five-time NBA champion, 15-time All-Star, 11-time All-NBA first team selection and a 9-time All-Defensive first team selection.
Reggie Miller (Indiana Pacers) – 18 Seasons
Possibly the greatest shooter in NBA history, Miller played for the Indiana Pacers from 1987 to 2005, leading them to the NBA finals in 2000, losing in six games to the Los Angeles Lakers. He is mostly remembered for his trash talking, clutch shooting and 90’s rivalry with the New York Knicks. He made 5 All-Star games, and is one of the few hall of famers that were actually good doing just one thing on the basketball court.
John Stockton (Utah Jazz) – 19 Seasons
Short shorts, Assists and Karl Malone. That pretty much sums up John Stockton’s career, who made it to two NBA finals with the Jazz but twice just had too much Michael Jordan in his way. He is the all-time leader in assists (15,806) an steals (3265), so far ahead of the competition, looking like it’ll never be beaten. He led the NBA in assists 9 consecutive seasons, making 10 All-Star games, 2 All-NBA first teams and 5 All-Defensive first team selections.