Brian Cardinal (born May 2, 1977 in Tolono, Illinois) was signed as a free agent by the Dallas Mavericks on September 27, 2010.
Cardinal played his college ball at Purdue where he made his mark as a freshman averaging 10,6 points and 6.1 rebounds his freshman season. He was selected team captain his sophomore when he saw his scoring average rise to 12.0 ppg and helped lead Purdue to a Sweet Sixteen appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Although his scoring average dropped slightly his junior year, Cardinal was selected to the third team All-Big 10 team and led the Boilermakers back to the NCAA's Sweet Sixteen. Known for his aggressive play and his knack for diving for loose balls, it was this season that he earned the nickname "The Custodian".
As a senior, he set career-high's in both points (13.9) and rebounds 6.3, making the Al-Big 10 Second Team and helping take Purdue all the way to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
The 6'8 forward was taken in the second round of the 2000 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons and appeared in 15 games his rookie campaign averaging 2.1 points and 1.5 rebounds.
Following his second season with the Pistons, Cardinal was traded along with Jerry Stackhouse and Ratko Varda to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Hubert Davis, Richard Hamilton and Bobby Simmons. His time in Washington was to be limited when, after seeing action in five games, he was waived on March 1, 2003. It proved to be a blessing as he immediately went to Europe and gained invaluable experience playing in Spain for Pamesa Valencia as the team won the ULEB Cup Championship.
He was back in the NBA a few months later when, on October 1, 2003 he signed a free agent deal with the Golden State Warriors. It was with Golden State that Cardinal posted career numbers in games played (76), points (9.6) and rebounds (4.2). He finished the season third in the league in 3-point field goal percentage (.444) and seventh in free throw percentage (.878). He was also a finalist for the NBA's Most Improved Player Award.
When his one-yer deal was up, Cardinal signed a free agent deal with the Memphis Grizzlies on July 14, 2004 and would enjoy four seasons with the Grizzlies. His best season with Memphis would be his first when, in 2004-2005, he averaged 9.0 points and 3.9 rebounds while notching a career-high 24.7 minutes per game over 58 appearances.
Following his fourth season, Cardinal was on the move again. This time being traded along with Kevin Love, Jason Collins and Mike Miller to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Greg Buckner, Antoine Walker, O.J. Mayo and Marko Jaric. He played two seasons with the Timberwolves averaging 3.0 and 1.7 ppg respectively.
Minnesota traded Cardinal, during his second season, to New York on February 17, 2010 in exchange for Darko Milicic and cash. He was a Knick for exactly two days before being waived and, eventually, resigning with the Wolves just over a month later.
On September 27, 2010, Cardinal signed a free agent deal with the Mavericks. He was part of the Mavs Championship team and picked up the nickname "The Janitor" for coming in and cleaning up situations.
He became a free agent after the 2011-2012 campaign and retired after not joining another NBA club.
Today he works at his alma mater, Purdue, as Assistant Director of the John Purdue Club which is the athletic fundrasing arm of the school.
In August of 2013, Cardinal and former WNBA star Sue Wicks, traveled to Malaysia to represent both their sport and their country as a State Department Sports Envoy performing basketball clinics and talking to youth groups about leadership and teamwork. Most recently, he was part of the Nike/NBA Asia Pacific Team visiting Nanjing, China in the summer of 2014.