Talented But Aging NBA Players

Nicholas Maspons ’22

Starting off the new 2021-2022 NBA season, several teams have a shot at winning the championship. With each season, teams may have different goals in mind, such as sharpening the skills of their new players or making the playoffs for the first time in years. 

The Los Angeles Lakers, for example, have two of the best players in the league and an all-around solid roster. The team has proved itself capable of winning, as it won the 2019-2020 NBA Finals. This year, the team has a few notable players who still have not won a championship, with these players being Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, and DeAndre Jordan. As these players age more, they have less and less time to aid their team by performing their best as they once did years ago.

The same goes for many other veteran players on different teams, such as James Harden, Paul George, and Damian Lillard. It is unlikely that all of these players will win a ring, but some have better chances than others. While some NBA players and their teams desire to win a championship, others may just want to make money to support themselves and their families, which is a fair reason for playing in the NBA. Players have many reasons to perform their best, as doing so will help them get higher-paying contacts and sustain their spot on the team. 

This topic is also looked at by fans in a perspective that begs the question, “Who deserves a ring more?” Many would agree that it is Damian Lillard, as he is known for his loyalty and contributions toward the Portland Trail Blazers, a team he has played for since the beginning of his career. However, this does not mean that he will acquire a ring eventually. 

It is not uncommon that players, both past and present, leave their teams to pursue a ring. Some examples of players today who have done this are James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Russell Westbrook, with Kevin Durant being the only of the three to secure an NBA Finals victory. These players have been to The Finals back in 2012 when they all played for the Oklahoma City Thunder but lost to the Miami Heat.

Of course, not every player will secure a victory in The NBA Finals, as only 11% actually do, which is why players leave their teams to improve their odds. Many all-time greats such as Reggie Miller, Steve Nash, and Allen Iverson have never won a ring in their impressive careers, and perhaps some of today’s NBA players will meet the same fate. So as of now, NBA fans can only hope their favorite teams or players will win a championship this year.