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Ben Simmons All-Stars
Players who were shut out after reaching three All-Star Games before their 25th birthday.
Ben Simmons is one of 45 players in NBA history to earn at least three All-Star selections before his 25th* birthday. However, only three of those players were shut out of the All-Star Game after turning 25 years old: Maurice Stokes, Terry Dischinger, and Derrick Rose. Simmons could wind up being the fourth.
* Age calculated on February 1 of the given season.
Simmons is only 27 years old, so it’s far too early to write him off, but the chances of him earning another All-Star berth seem slim at the moment. Let’s take a closer look at the three players mentioned above to see what exactly happened to derail their promising starts.
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Before Age 25: 202 GP, 16.4 PPG, 17.3 RPG, 5.3 APG, 35.1 FG%, 69.8 FT%
Age 25 and after: DNP
Stokes made an immediate impact as a rookie, averaging a league-leading 16.3 RPG and taking home Rookie of the Year honors. Stokes earned the first of what would be three straight All-Star selections to start his career. He was also named All-NBA Second Team following each of those seasons.
However, tragedy struck in the final game of the 1957-58 season. Stokes was knocked unconscious on a drive to the basket, striking his head on the floor on the resulting fall. Trainers used smelling salts to revive Stokes, and he returned to the game.
But just three days later, as his Cincinnati Royals were on a flight home from their opening playoff game with the Detroit Pistons, Stokes become ill, and later suffered a seizure that left him permanently paralyzed. Stokes was diagnosed with post-traumatic encephalopathy, a brain disorder that left his motor-control center permanently damaged.
Stokes’ friend and teammate, fellow Hall of Famer Jack Twyman, became his legal guardian, providing care and support in the years following his injury. The NBA’s Twyman–Stokes Teammate of the Year Award is named in their honor.
A few more notes about Stokes:
He’s the only player in NBA history (no games played minimum) to average at least 15 PPG, 15 RPG, and 5 APG for his career.
He finished in the top three in the NBA in both rebounds and assists in the 1956-57 and 1957-58 seasons. The only other players to accomplish this feat are Wilt Chamberlain (1966-67 and 1967-68) and Nikola Jokic (2022-23).
On Nov. 8, 1957, he recorded 22 points, 38 rebounds, and 12 assists in a loss to the Boston Celtics. Stokes’ 38 rebounds are still the most ever recorded in a triple-double, a record he shares with Wilt Chamberlain (March 2, 1967).
Before Age 25: 217 GP, 21.1 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 2.4 APG, 50.0 FG%, 76.8 FT%
Age 25 and After: 435 GP, 10.2 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.4 APG, 51.2 FG%, 74.5 FT%
Dischinger — who passed away on the 10th of this month — was a collegiate star at Purdue, earning consensus All-America First Team honors following his junior and senior seasons. Dischinger was a member of the gold-medal-winning 1960 U.S. Olympic basketball team that also included future NBA legends Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, and Jerry Lucas.
The 1962-63 NBA Rookie of the Year, Dischinger earned All-Star selections in each of his first three seasons. But following the 1964-65 season, his third in the NBA, Dischinger had to put his basketball career on hold in order to fulfill a military obligation (he was in the ROTC in college). Stationed in Hawaii, Dischinger spent two years serving in the U.S. Army.
Dischinger returned to the Pistons for the 1967-68 season, and although he was still an effective player, he never averaged more than 13.1 PPG or 6.2 RPG in any of his six remaining seasons.
During the 1971-72 season, Dischinger served as interim player-coach for the Detroit Pistons after Butch van Breda Kolff abruptly resigned just 10 games into the campaign. Dischinger lost both games in which he served as head coach before yielding the position to Earl Lloyd for the remainder of the season.
A few more notes about Dischinger:
He’s one of only four rookies in NBA history to average at least 25 PPG on 50% shooting from the field. The others to do so are Walt Bellamy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Michael Jordan.
He’s one of only four qualified players who debuted prior to the 1969-70 season to record a career field goal percentage of at least 50%. The others are Wilt Chamberlain, Walt Bellamy, and Wes Unseld. Dischinger is the only one of those players to also shoot at least 65% from the free throw line (75.8%, to be exact).
While stationed in Hawaii, Dischinger decided he wanted to practice dentistry after his playing days were over. He earned a DDS from the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry, finishing first in his class. Dischinger then established an orthodontic office in Lake Oswego, Ore. (a suburb of Portland), where he practiced for almost 40 years.
Before Age 25: 279 GP, 21.0 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 6.8 APG, 46.4 FG%, 81.5 FT%
Age 25 and After: 420 GP, 15.5 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 4.2 APG, 44.9 FG%, 85.0 FT%
Rose won an MVP Award in 2010-11, just his third season in the NBA. At the age of 22 years and 191 days*, Rose is still the youngest recipient of the honor in NBA history. The following season, Rose appeared in just 31 games thanks to injuries and a lockout, but was voted an All-Star starter for the second consecutive season (and his third selection overall).
* Age calculated on the final day of the regular season.
Rose’s Chicago Bulls ended the regular season as one of only two teams to reach 50 wins in the abbreviated 66-game schedule. However, disaster struck in the playoffs, as Rose tore his left ACL in Game 1 of the Bulls’ first round series versus the Boston Celtics.
Rose missed the entire 2012-13 campaign, and just 10 games into his comeback in the 2013-14 season he tore the meniscus in his right knee. This injury required surgery that knocked Rose out for the rest of the season.
On and on it went, as recurring knee problems continued to limit Rose’s playing time and effectiveness. Rose has produced some good seasons over that span — in particular the 2018-19, 2019-2020, and 2020-21 campaigns — but has been unable to regain his All-Star form.
A few more notes about Rose:
He’s one of 17 players in NBA history to win both the Rookie of the Year and MVP Awards during his career, and one of only seven to do so within his first three seasons.
He finished third in the Sixth Man of the Year balloting in 2020-21. Rose is the only player to finish in the top three of the Rookie of the Year, MVP, and Sixth Man of the Year voting during his career.
In his NBA playoff debut, Rose scored 36 points and dished out 11 assists versus the Boston Celtics. He and Chris Paul are the only players in NBA history to record at least 35 points and 10 assists in their first career postseason game. At 20 years and 196 days old, Rose is the youngest player in NBA history to reach those marks in a playoff game.