Former NBA player and a true legend of the game, Kevin Garnett, gave an interesting interview for the New York Times. He touched upon several things from his NBA career but also gave an interesting answer when asked about the younger generation of players. Unlike some other older players, Garnett is very much supportive of the younger players and acknowledges their skillset and ability to play the game. He even said that a lot of the players from his generation wouldn’t be able to compete in today’s game because it’s so much different.
One other thing Garnett talked about is an issue other NBA players spoke about before, and it’s the lack of having true veterans on rosters of NBA teams. There is a notion around the league; teams want younger players on the squad and how veterans are no longer welcome to the extent they were before.
Garnett believes the main reason behind that is the fact veteran players would oftentimes educated young players on the do’s and don’ts if you are a professional NBA player. There are some things that the NBA doesn’t train young players about, which in his mind is the role of veterans who educate players on how to act off the court and how to manage their contracts and their money.
What I meant was, when it comes to off-the-court stuff and dealing with family and finances and the lifestyle of the league, you need veterans. Veterans sit around during dinners and plane rides and talk about people who have come before you: players that fought for midlevel exceptions and Bird rights. The franchise is not going to teach the players this. The players are exchanging the information you need to go up against a machine like the league.Kevin Garnett, via New York Times
Garnet argues Adam Silver is doing a great job in creating a level of trust between the players and the league, making sure everybody’s voice is equally heard.
Well, Adam Silver has done a great job of bringing the partnership to a nice balance. Adam is my homie. With him, players feel like they have a voice. I don’t know how the owners feel about players having such a voice, but everybody has to be happy.Kevin Garnett, via New York Times
Even though there might be some truth in what Garnett is saying about the lack of veteran leadership on some teams, it’s definitely not true that it is universal for the entire league. There are multiple teams in the NBA that have several experienced veterans who either have bigger or minor roles on the team but are present nevertheless. Whether that will change in the near future remains to be seen, but quality veteran leadership is necessary for any team that is hoping to win a championship in the NBA.