Danny Manning is one of the NBA’s most poignant “what if” stories, yet still did enough to perform at a high level for much of his 15-year career.
Manning suffered a severe knee injury just 26 games into his rookie season and it was three years before he was back to 100 percent again.
After leading Kansas to an unlikely NCAA title in 1988, Manning was the No. 1 overall pick by the moribund Los Angeles Clippers later that year.
He broke out in his fourth season, playing in all 82 games and leading the Clippers to their first playoff berth since the franchise left Buffalo, ending a 16-year postseason drought.
He was a 20-point a game scorer each of the next two seasons before a stunning trade at the 1994 deadline sent him to the Atlanta Hawks for Dominique Wilkins.
Manning played just 26 games with the Hawks before signing with the Phoenix Suns and reinventing himself as a reserve, taking Sixth Man of the Year honors in 1997-98.
Injuries and age slowed him from there as he faded through five more years, jumping to five different teams before retiring in September 2003.
In 15 seasons, he averaged 14.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.1 steals in 27.4 minutes per game on 51.1 percent shooting, but in his Clipper prime, he put up 19.1 points, 6.4 boards, 3.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.1 blocks in 34.0 minutes a night, shooting 51.8 percent.