Shawn Marion will retire after this season, as first reported by Paul Caro of the Arizona Republic. The Cleveland Cavaliers forward will end up calling it quits after 16 years of unique, at times astonishing, and consistently superb play.
Marion signed a one-year contract with Cleveland last summer, teaming up with LeBron James for another shot at a championship ring, and just a few months after hinting that the 2013-14 season could be his last.
Well-aware of his lot in life as the Cavaliers visited Phoenix last week, Marion went on record with his decision in a talk with Coro pitched just before Cleveland took on the same Suns franchise that made a star out of the versatile 6-7 jack of all trades.
When the Suns drafted Marion in 1999, Marion set a goal to play 15 seasons. The 36-year-old believes he could play another three seasons but being away from his first child, 8-month-old Shawn, has convinced him to retire after this season with the Cavaliers.
"I wanted to go out on my terms," Marion said. "The biggest thing is having a son. I got attached to him. Seeing him periodically is hard. Watching him grow up on pictures and videos is hard."
Coro went on to discuss Marion’s seemingly inevitable induction into Phoenix’s Ring of Honor realm, but as Matrix winds down his NBA career, perhaps we should have loftier lauds in mind.
Are we watching the final games of a Basketball Hall of Famer?
The Basketball Hall of Fame is a pretty dodgy place, badly in need of reform, obsessed with following through on favors, often crediting above average college coaches with the same sort of recognition that top-flight NBA professionals should take in.
It’s the sort of institution that would seem to be well in line to leave someone like Marion out. He’s only made four NBA All-Star teams, as the NBA coaches that would seem to recognize Shawn’s contributions far better than an average voting fan decided routinely not to add him to the reserve roster. Marion was only voted, by media members, to two All-NBA teams – and even then it was on a pair of Third Teams.
He’s only averaged over 20 points per game in a season twice in his career, and years of bouncing around as a do-it-all “role player” (Marion’s words, not mine; he’s averaging 5.6 points and four rebounds in almost 23 minutes a game this year) have knocked his career per game averages down to just under 16 points per game and 8.8 rebounds a contest. Even though some of Shawn’s finest moments were spent on Phoenix teams that pushed the pace and inflated numbers.
If the NBA had the temerity and smarts to develop its own hall of fame, however, Marion would be a lock to get it in. His defense, longevity, importance to too many fantastic teams (including a title-winner, in Dallas in 2011) and ability to ease into a Second Act as a savvy do-it-all player after his athleticism waned is to be commended.
The Hall of Fame, as it currently stands, is a bit of a joke. Which is why should move on a bit and not wring hands should Marion be on the outside looking some years from now.
What we should do is appreciate the half-season plus playoffs we have left of Shawn Marion. The consummate teammate, and all around good dude.
The owner of this finger:
Shawn Marion had by far the best NBA career of anyone who's hand looks like this pic.twitter.com/mU0A9lW9YK
— Dick Carlisle (@DickCarlisle) January 21, 2015
The man who did all this, late in his career:
(Most other highlight videos, as with the highlights themselves, are NSFW.)
We’ll talk more about Marion’s accomplishments later this year, when he officially steps away. Until then, enjoy watching the guy.
- - - - - - -