Damian Lillard, Kobe Bryant and other NBA stars who played entire career for one team

Stephen Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo are also among the list of players who spent their entire NBA career with just one franchise.

Published : Mar 15, 2023 05:09 IST - 3 MINS READ

Damian Lillard has played for Portland Trail Blazers since 2012.
Damian Lillard has played for Portland Trail Blazers since 2012. | Photo Credit: AFP

Damian Lillard has played for Portland Trail Blazers since 2012. | Photo Credit: AFP

Damian Lillard is in his 12th season in the NBA with Portland Trail Blazers and it is the only franchise the guard has played for.

The seven-time All Star made news with his appearance on J.J. Reddick’s podcast where he said that he “does not like what the league is becoming as a whole.”

Lillard rued the fact that most players these days only care about winning rings, and ignore the journey they are on.

In recent times, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and James Harden have switched teams in order to pursue an NBA title.

Lillard is indeed from a rare breed of players who have stuck with a single team. And the kind is dwindling by the day. The major difference, though, has been that most were able to build a title-winning side around them. We’re still waiting on Lillard to do that.

Sportstar takes a look at some of the names who have played for a single NBA team for their entire career.

Kobe Bryant

Perhaps the one of greatest players to feature in the league. Kobe Bryant played for Los Angeles Lakers for two decades. He managed 20 seasons for the LA franchise where he pulled off five NBA titles. Bryant was picked for the NBA All Star on 18 occasions, which remains the second-highest in the league’s history. He also has one league and two finals Most Valuable Player awards.

Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki brought the European flair to the NBA. The German was a mainstay with Dallas Mavericks for 21 seasons. He was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks but never played for it. Over his career, Nowitzki amassed 31,560 points - the sixth highest in the league. The six-foot-ten player was able to get his hands on the NBA title in 2011.

Reggie Miller

Modern-day NBA has seen Stephen Curry dazzle from the three-point line. Back in the day, it was Reggie Miller who ruled from downtown. Miller had an 18-year association with Detroit Pistons. Such was his impact that the Pistons retired Miller’s jersey number once he called it quits. The one major disappointment maybe in the five-time All Star’s career was the lack of a championship.

Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan was one of the finest forwards in the league. He was drafted by San Antonio Spurs in 1997 and stuck with the team till his retirement in 2016. In this time, he won five NBA championships with the franchise. His personal achievements include winning the league MVP award twice, winning Finals MVP trophy thrice and making it to the NBA All Star a whopping 15 times. In 2020, Duncan was indicted to the NBA Hall of Fame.

Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson was synonymous with Los Angeles Lakers in the 1980s. Well, him and Kareem Abdul Jabbar. They led the Showtime-era of the franchise which banked on razzmatazz of high-intensity high-scoring basketball. During Magic’s time, the Lakers made it to nine NBA Finals, and won five of them. Magic collected three Finals MVPs and nine All-NBA First Team selections. He stayed at Los Angeles right till the end of his career in 1991. He even came back in 1996 for one season and took the court for the same Purple-and-Gold of the Lakers.

Larry Bird

Larry Bird cannot be outside a list that names Magic. Bird was the second superstar of the 80s era. He built a title-winning side at Boston Celtics with Kevin McHale and Robert Parish - the original big three of NBA. Together, the trio brought three NBA Championships to Boston and formed a fabled rivalry against Los Angeles Lakers. Bird versus Magic too made for a high-intensity rivalry back in the day. Bird stayed with the Celtics from 1979 to 1992. Six years later, he was named into the NBA Hall of Fame.

Present-day NBA players who have played for single franchise
Damian Lillard - Portland Trail Blazers
Stephen Curry - Golden State Warriors
Giannis Antetokounmpo - Milwaukee Bucks
Bradley Beal - Washington Wizards
Draymond Green - Golden State Warriors
Klay Thompson - Golden State Warriors
Udonis Haslem - Miami Heat
Nikola Jokic - Denver Nuggets
Sign in to unlock all user benefits
  • Get notified on top games and events
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign up / manage to our newsletters with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early bird access to discounts & offers to our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide to our community guidelines for posting your comment