With the excellent college and pro basketball career Danny Manning had, his one nondescript season in Detroit is pretty insignificant in comparison to his career elsewhere, other than the fact that that was his final season.
As part of a regular series by Rob Trucks at Deadspin where various athletes discuss the ends to their careers, Manning talks about knowing his career was over after that season with the Pistons in 2003:
I knew it was time for me to retire after that [2002-03] season in Detroit. I came home that summer, and the desire to do what I needed to do to prepare myself for the upcoming season didn’t kick in. I didn’t want to go do any extra running. I didn’t want to do any extra lifting. I didn’t want to go do any extra shooting. I didn’t want to go into the gym as much as I wanted to or I needed to or should have been doing in all those summers before. And it’s not that I didn’t love the game of basketball any less. I just didn’t have the desire to prepare myself. And I knew that, once that desire to prepare myself for the upcoming season left, there’s no reason to play.
The last four years I was at a different place, but I was still ready. I was still prepared to go in to every game thinking, “Hey, my number could get called upon.” And most of the time it didn’t. I knew that, but that was my role. I was OK with that. I signed up for that. But after that Detroit year, it was … I just didn’t want to do what I needed to do to be ready.
The game that sticks out to me was the last regular-season game. We played Boston. And I was not in the rotation. End of the year we’ve already solidified our playoff spot, and so you rest some guys, you give some guys some more minutes who haven’t played before, and I got that opportunity to play. And that was probably some of the most fun I’ve had playing. We didn’t win the game, but just being out on the court and enjoying the moment.
It’s an excellent read if you want a break from the onslaught of draft coverage today, and actually, the whole series, which features athletes in various sports, is pretty fascinating.