Former New York Knicks guard Latrell Sprewell turned 48 years old on Saturday.
The New York Knicks teams of the late 1990s and early 2000s were known for players like Patrick Ewing, Alan Houston, Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas, all of whom contributed to winning teams. Amidst them was Latrell Sprewell, the outspoken guard that spent five seasons with the team.
Sprewell mostly started for the Knicks, aside from the 1998-99 season, prior to which he was suspended for one year for an incident with the Golden State Warriors and had his contract voided.
So, once Sprewell joined the Knicks, it was a chance at on-court redemption, which included a roster spot in the 1999 NBA Finals and starting for head coach Jeff Van Gundy’s teams in the seasons afterward.
Well, 15 years after Sprewell played his last game with New York, on Saturday, he celebrated his 48th birthday.
Sprewell originally went to the Warriors in the 1992 NBA Draft as the No. 24 overall pick, a class that included Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Christian Laettner and Robert Horry. He played there until the 1997-98 campaign, with the altercation that led to the voided contract.
Sprewell’s five-and-a-half seasons with the Knicks resulted in 17.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game on 41.8 percent shooting and 34.9 percent from three-point range. This run included the aforementioned spot in the 1999 NBA Finals vs. the San Antonio Spurs and a trip to the 2001 All-Star game.
In the Finals, which the Knicks lost in five games, Sprewell averaged 26 points and 20.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 20 playoff games and eight starts. Van Gundy also played him in 37.8 minutes per game as one of the team’s primary scorers.
After this, the Knicks sent Sprewell to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a four-team deal in the 2003 offseason. He played two seasons there, with Kevin Garnett as a teammate, averaging 14.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists,
Despite putting up respectable numbers in 2004-05, Sprewell never played in the NBA again, as he would not play for a team’s $5 million mid-level exception or the minimum salary.