Al Harrington retires after 16 seasons

Forward Al Harrington, the 1998 first-round pick of the Indiana Pacers, retired Wednesday.

"I'm very happy with what I was able to accomplish," Harrington told the Denver Post after helping during a Nuggets practice. "I was able to change a lot of people's lives in my family, including myself, in a game that I eventually fell in love with and will always be in love with. And hopefully, I can stay around the game until I die.

"It was a fun ride. It went by fast, too. It was like one minute I was 18, the next I was 25, then was 30 and now I'm 35. It was a fun run. Met a lot of great people."

Harrington, who jumped from St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, New Jersey, straight to the NBA, averaged 13.5 points and 5.6 rebounds in a 16-year career that included stops with seven teams, including two stints with the Pacers (1998 to 2004 and part of the 2006-07 season), Hawks, Warriors, Knicks, Nuggets, Magic and Wizards. With lingering knee issues, he signed with the Fujian Sturgeons of the Chinese Basketball Association in August before returning to the States to pursue a potential NBA comeback.

When Nuggets coach Brian Shaw was fired and Melvin Hunt was named interim coach earlier this month, a text-message exchange led Harrington to a spot on the Nuggets' sideline, where he will help for the rest of the season.

Harrington is one of only five players to play more than 15 NBA seasons after bypassing college. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Jermaine O'Neal and Rashard Lewis are the others.