On Thursday, Philadelphia 76ers forward Elton Brand retired for the second time in 14 months, bringing to a close a lengthy NBA career that began in 1999, when the Chicago Bulls made the Duke product the first overall pick in the draft. With Brand now out of the league, the NBA is left with just five active players who were also active in the 1990s — a rarity not just in basketball, but across all major U.S. sports. Here’s a look at the other active NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB players who made their debuts in those leagues in the ‘90s:
Dirk Nowitzki (1998)
Many forget that it was technically the Milwaukee Bucks who selected Nowitzki ninth overall in 1998 before trading the German big man to the Dallas Mavericks on draft night. The 38-year-old Nowitzki has been with the Mavs ever since, and has picked up 13 All-Star nods, an MVP award and an NBA title along the way.
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Paul Pierce (1998)
Though he’s bounced around in recent years, Pierce spent the first 15 seasons of his career in Boston after the Celtics took him 10th overall in ‘98. The league’s active leader in turnovers, fouls, free throw attempts and 3-point attempts, Pierce has made 10 All-Star teams and won a title with Boston in 2007-08. He’s currently a member of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Vince Carter (1998)
Like Nowitzki, Carter was involved in a draft-night swap in ‘98, his sending him from Golden State to Toronto. Carter then spent six and a half seasons with the Raptors and four and a half seasons with the New Jersey Nets before making stops in Orlando, Phoenix, Dallas and, most recently, Memphis, where the 39-year-old has played the past two seasons.
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Metta World Peace (1999)
When Chicago drafted him 16th overall in ‘99, World Peace went by the name Ron Artest. Since then, he’s been involved in one of the ugliest brawls in NBA history, made two All-Defensive first teams, won a title and played for six different franchises. After a season split between China and Italy, he returned to the NBA last year and is currently with the Lakers.
Adam Vinatieri (1996)
The NFL's oldest active player at age 44, the Indianapolis Colts kicker Vinatieri made his debut with the New England Patriots in 1996 after going undrafted out of South Dakota State. Today, Vinatieri is third on the league's career scoring list and sixth on the all-time games played list and trails only his old teammate Tom Brady in career playoff games, with 30.
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Phil Dawson (1999)
Currently kicking for the San Francisco 49ers, Dawson made his NFL debut in 1999 with Cleveland, where he played the first 14 years of his career. With 269 career games played, the 41-year-old Dawson trails only Vinatieri among active players. He’s also the most recent NFL kicker to attempt a fair catch kick. (The uncontested 71-yard try came up short and wide left.)
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Alex Rodriguez (1994)
Baseball saw several ‘90s players retire in recent weeks, including David Ortiz and A.J. Pierzynski. However A-Rod has not officially joined that list. Rodriguez, who has 696 career home runs, made his debut at age 18 with Seattle in 1994, won the first of his three MVP awards in Texas in 2003 and played for the New York Yankees until August of this year. Whether he takes the field again remains to be seen, so as of now, he's still on this list.
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Bartolo Colon (1997)
The righty Colon had a resurgent season with the New York Mets in 2016 — one that included his first career walk and homer at the plate. Now 43, Colon made his debut with the Cleveland Indians in April 1997 and has stated that he wants to play long enough to pass Juan Marichal for the most career wins by a Dominican-born pitcher. With 233, he’s 10 away.
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Carlos Beltran (1998)
A switch-hitting outfielder, Beltran made his MLB debut with the Royals in 1998 and won Rookie of the Year in Kansas City in ‘99. Nearly two decades later, Beltran is still raking and hit 29 homers between the Yankees and Rangers this year. Beltran previously hinted that 2016 could be his last season, but the 39-year-old recently said he intends to return for 2017.
Joe Nathan (1999)
The last couple years have been tough on Nathan, who underwent his second Tommy John surgery in April 2015. But the former All-Star closer is still at it, and finished 2016 with the Giants — the same team he was with when he broke into the big leagues in 1999. It’s unclear what’s next for the 41-year-old, but if he has plans to retire he hasn’t announced them yet.
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Jaromir Jagr (1990)
): It almost seems impossible that there’s an active NHL player who made his debut the year Home Alone came out in theaters, but Jagr, 44, is not your typical player. Jagr played his first NHL game at age 18 in 1990, as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, with whom he won two Stanley Cups. He’s now in his third season with the Florida Panthers, his eighth team.
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Shane Doan (1995)
A first-round pick in the 1995 draft, the right-winger Doan made his NHL debut with the Winnipeg Jets three days before his 19th birthday. Doan then made the move to Phoenix when the Jets became the Coyotes and has been with the franchise ever since. Now 40, Doan kicked off his 21st season this week with a goal in his first game of the year.
Jarome Iginla (1996)
A two-time Richard Trophy winner, Iginla was drafted by the Dallas Stars in 1995 but was traded to Calgary and eventually made his NHL debut with the Flames in 1996, scoring a goal in his first career game. Now 39, Iginla has added 524 more goals to his tally since and recently began his third season with the Colorado Avalanche.
Matt Cullen (1997)
The oldest of five active players who made their NHL debut in 1997, Cullen, a center, has played with eight teams since breaking into the league with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks just before his 21st birthday. A Stanley Cup champion with both the Carolina Hurricanes (2005-06) and Pittsburgh Penguins (2015-16), Cullen is back with the Pens for the 2016-17 season.
Zdeno Chara (1997)
A longtime Bruins defenseman, Chara spent his first four NHL seasons with the New York Islanders, then played four seasons with the Ottawa Senators before arriving in Boston in 2006. is. A native of Czechoslovakia, Chara won a Cup with the Bruins during the 2010-11 season, and at 6-foot-9, is also the tallest player to ever play in the NHL.
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Joe Thornton (1997)
The first overall pick in the 1997 draft, Thornton spent his first seven and a half seasons in Boston, although his best season as a pro came in 2005-06, the year he was traded to the San Jose Sharks. Today, Thornton is still in San Jose, and through four games this season he already has five assists. He also trails only Jagr on the active points list.
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Patrick Marleau (1997)
When Marleau, the second pick in 1997’s draft, made his NHL debut for Sharks in October of that year, he was 16 days removed from his 18th birthday. Nearly two decades later, he’s still in San Jose, where he’s now teammates with Thornton. At 37, Marleau is coming off a 25-goal season and could hit the 500-goal mark later this year.
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David Legwand (1999)
Drafted second overall by Nashville in 1998, Legwand did not make his NHL debut until April 1999, in the Predators’ final game of the season. A two-way center, Legwand spent 15 years in Nashville before a March 2014 trade to Detroit, then spent 2014-15 with Ottawa and last season with Buffalo. Legwand is not currently on an NHL roster, but at 36, is not retired.
Roberto Luongo (1999)
Luongo broke into the NHL in November 1999 with the Islanders and has played more minutes in more games and has more wins, losses, saves, shots faced and goals allowed than any other active goalie in the league. The majority of Luongo’s career has been split between Vancouver and Florida, where he is currently starting in the Panthers’ net.
Brian Campbell (1999)
After five seasons in Florida, the 37-year-old defenseman Campbell is back in Chicago, where he won a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010. However, Campbell’s career started in Buffalo, where the former sixth-round pick made his NHL debut in October 1999. Last season, Campbell’s plus-minus of 31 was good for third in the NHL and was tops in the East.
Mike Fisher (1999)
Better known outside the hockey world as Carrie Underwood’s husband, Fisher has a solid reputation on the ice and was recently named captain of the Nashville Predators in his seventh season with the team. Prior to the February 2011 trade that brought him to Tennessee, Fisher played 11 seasons in Ottawa, where he made his NHL debut in October 1999.
Mike Ribeiro (1999)
Though he played sparingly during his first two seasons in the league, Fisher’s Predators teammate Ribeiro did appear in his first NHL game with the Montreal Canadiens in 1999. All told, Ribeiro, a former second-rounder, played six seasons each in Montreal and Dallas, followed by one season each in Washington and Phoenix before arriving in Nashville in 2014.