Jamal Crawford is back, and it’s been longer than you might think. His last NBA game was on April 4th, 2019. Since the beginning of this bizarre season, a lot of people have been wondering – how come Crawford is still a free agent? Crawford was thinking the same thing.
If there’s someone who’s body type and style of play ages well, it’s JC. Yet, not a single NBA team saw a place for him in their rotation. I understand rebuilding teams want to give minutes to young prospects, but how many times do we need to re-learn the importance of veteran leadership in the locker room? Crawford explained how challenging the past 14 months were.
“Very difficult. Anybody that knows me knows how much I love the game of basketball. Fighting that battle, not knowing if another opportunity was going to come. Each month, each week, each day became harder to see if something was going to happen.”Jamal Crawford, SportsCenter
Crawford did find a silver lining in all this. He got to spend a lot more time with his family. He also worked on his moves (as if he didn’t have enough of those) and stayed focus and ready to grab an opportunity if it arises. It came in the form of the Brooklyn Nets.
Now, if you are a JC fan, you may think it’s fitting Crawford gets to end his career under his conditions. He doesn’t see it that way. Despite being 40 years old, retirement is not on his mind. This is not a farewell tour.
“I think people are looking at it that way for me being on the outside of the league for 15 months. They’re like ‘This maybe..it has to be it, right?‘ I’m not looking at it like that”Jamal Crawford, SportsCenter
In addition to his body type and style of game, one thing was crucial for Crawford’s longevity in the NBA. The same as Vince Carter, he can evolve and accept new roles. That’s why Crawford worked on his leadership, developing in the way he can set an example and mentor younger players. In his conversation for SportsCenter, Jamal was the perfect elder statesman. He talked up the coach and the organization, put a positive note on Brooklyn’s chances (despite they are missing most of their team), and talked about taking it one day at a time and everything being a growing opportunity.
A guy that can get you buckets off the bench, stabilize the lockerroom and mentor the young ones is always in demand in the NBA. If he chooses so, Crawford should be on an NBA team in the ’20/’21 season…whatever it looks like and whenever that may be.