Allan Houston retires after 12 seasons
In NBA History (*-active)
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A two-time All-Star and member of the 2000 Olympic team, Houston was one of the NBA's best outside shooters before he was slowed by chronic knee soreness. He was limited to only 70 games over the last two seasons.
"I did everything I possibly could to get back and finish my career the way I would have liked to," Houston said at the Knicks' practice facility. "My injuries just wouldn't let me do it."
The 34-year-old Houston appeared in only 20 games last season and averaged 11.9 points, his worst season since he was a rookie. He did not play in either of the team's two exhibition games.
Houston's retirement leaves Larry Brown without his top outside shooter as he begins his first season as Knicks coach. New York could use Jamal Crawford or offseason acquisition Quentin Richardson at the shooting guard spot opposite Stephon Marbury.
Knicks president Isiah Thomas had hoped the trio of Houston, Marbury and Crawford would make the Knicks title contenders again.
"I thought that would make the best backcourt in the NBA," Thomas said. "We never got a chance to do that."
Houston averaged 17.3 points during his 12 NBA seasons, including a career-high 22.5 in 2002-03, his last full season. He shot 40.2 percent from 3-point range.
After spending his first three seasons in Detroit, Houston signed with the Knicks, who hoped he would be the outside shooting complement they needed to Patrick Ewing.
Houston helped New York to an improbable spot in the 1999 NBA Finals, when his running jumper in the closing seconds of the deciding Game 5 knocked off the top-seeded Miami Heat in the first round.
"I always wanted to be in those moments when you could have an opportunity to win the game," Houston said.
But ultimately, he became a symbol for why the team couldn't improve in the post-Ewing years.
A favorite of Madison Square Garden president James Dolan, Houston was given a much-criticized $100 million, six-year contract extension in 2001. The deal made him virtually untradeable once he began to get hurt and crippled the Knicks' ability to make moves because of salary cap woes.
That also made him a target of criticism from fans.
"New York fans are passionate. I knew that you have to put yourself in other people's shoes sometimes," he said.
Houston hoped to return this season, but knee soreness returned after preseason workouts. A very spiritual person, he knew then that it was time to give up the efforts to come back.
"If it had been what was supposed to happen, it would have happened," Houston said.
A durable player earlier in his career, Houston missed only 10 games due to injury or illness in his first seven seasons in New York before the problems with his left knee.
"Allan exhausted every single possibility trying to get back," Thomas said.
At the a press conference attended by Brown, Marbury, Crawford, former teammate and coach Herb Williams, and his family, Houston was praised for his character.
Thomas, who noted he was at Houston's first NBA press conference while playing for Detroit, pointed out that Houston took the time to say a prayer for Dolan, who recently had surgery and couldn't attend.
"The only thing I could say to myself is 'wow,' " Thomas said. "I don't think there's another NBA player who would have done that."
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press