The NBA's old guard is losing another player. Elton Brand has announced his retirement from the NBA after 17 years in the league.
"After 17 years of playing the game that I love and which has been great to me," Brand said in a press conference, "I'm officially retiring. It's for real this time. It was a wonderful journey."
Brand, 37, retired temporarily in 2015 before returning to action with the 76ers in the 2015-16 season. He only played 17 games that year, but he was lauded for his work as a mentor to the team's young players. He was under contract for this upcoming season, but decided to call it a career instead of going through what would have been his 18th year in the league.
Brand was selected first overall in the 1999 draft by the Bulls. He instantly emerged as an impact player, averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds per game as a rookie on a talent-deprived Chicago team. His performance led him to share co-Rookie of the Year honors with Steve Francis. His sophomore season was similarly impressive, as he averaged another double-double while improving his assist numbers.
Despite his good play, the Bulls decided to trade him to the Clippers in 2001. He spent seven years with the franchise, earning All-Star honors twice. Despite his contributions, the Clippers only made the playoffs once in his time there. It was in 2005-06, behind a 25-point per game season by Brand.
An Achilles injury in 2007 cut his prime short. He returned to action the following season but he was never the same player. He had a productive few years with the 76ers but he never approached the star level he had flashed in the past. He had stints with the Mavericks and the Hawks, helping as a veteran off the bench before returning to Philadelphia in 2015.
While Brand doesn't have the same credentials as some of the legends who have retired before the 2016-17 season, the league will miss him. He was a throwback power forward who scored inside and rebounded, a dying breed. He was also a consummate professional who provided veteran leadership late in his career and always gave maximum effort. His teams didn't experience great success, but it was not because of him.
Brand averaged 16 points, eight rebounds, and two assists for his career.