Today was my birthday. My roommate, who also happens to be my girlfriend, had made the best of our COVID quarantine with a full day of gifts and food. After consuming two pies- pizza and key lime- we wound up on the couch, looking for something to nurse my food baby over and I stumbled upon the NBA showing Game Six of the 2013 Finals: Heat vs. Spurs.
I was so glad that the NBA had put this on! I mean, this was the ‘Ray Allen shot’ game and I recited the names of every player on the court, not only was I trying to show off how much I knew about basketball to my couch companion, but I found myself reminiscing on when I had first fallen in love with the game.
Mike Miller, Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, even Chris “Birdman” Anderson. I was struck by how some of these guys who were contributing the most important minutes of the NBA season were so fleeting. Seventeen men touched the floor in a do-or-die win-or-go-home contest that happened only seven years ago. Only three of the seventeen remain in the League today.
I was struck by how strange the feeling was of forgetting some of these guy’s roles and their places in what was, at the time, NBA history in the making. As I sat there and watched a replay of a game put out by the NBA because the current season is cancelled, I was doubly taken aback by how fleeting the game I love is.
So many individuals contribute to shaping the NBA into what it is an establishing it’s history, just to be eaten up by the sands of time as younger, fresher legs inundate the League on a yearly basis. Players like Mario Chalmers who played 42 minutes in that Game Six, will be all but forgotten to the next generation of NBA fans. What about all the players from the era’s past that shaped the League before my fandom and have disappeared into the vast basketball ether?
With the League currently on pause, I not only want to look back to the past, but want to shed light on some of the guys who helped shape the NBA into what we miss today. As the future is put on hold, I’m diving backwards into careers of dudes like Jerome Lane, Xavier McDaniel, Charles Barkley, and James Worthy. These players all had varied career successes and longevity, but all added to the rich history of the League and sport that I love most.